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Larry L. Fleming Biography

Larry L. Fleming

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Born: 1936. Died: 2003. Lived in: United States

Dr. Larry L. Fleming, founder and long-time music director of the National Lutheran Choir, was a noted conductor and composer of both choral and instrumental music.

Fleming, Founder A native of Cut Bank, Montana, Fleming attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota on a $50 music scholarship. After his graduation in 1960 he became the first full-time director of music at University Lutheran Church of Hope in Minneapolis, where he conducted a 65-voice choir for six years. During the same period, he taught music and liturgy at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, and served as an editorial consultant and clinician for Augsburg Publishing House.

In 1966, Fleming accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities and Director of Chapel Music at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he taught until 1974. He left there to study in Europe and pursue a number of composition commissions and appointments as guest conductor. In 1976, he returned to teaching, at Concordia College for three years, and then in 1979 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

While at Augsburg, Fleming founded the enormously popular Advent Vespers which is still held each Christmas at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis. He also continued to study while teaching, earning a Ph.D. in musicology and music theory from the University of Minnesota.

Each step in his career as conductor and teacher in academic settings - colleges, universities and seminaries; professional settings - concerts and clinics, has brought him critical acclaim, academic honors and a reputation for innovation. Throughout all, he nurtured a dream of a professional ensemble of singers and instrumentalists which would perform music of the church at the highest artistic level possible. Inspired by the work of Wilhelm Ehmann and the German Kantorei tradition and encouraged by many supporters from across the country, in 1986 he left Augsburg to found the National Lutheran Choir, serving as its music director until his retirement in 1999.

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