Larry Rachleff, longtime Interlochen guest conductor, dies at 67
Larry Rachleff, longtime guest conductor at Interlochen Arts Camp, died Aug. 8. of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was 67.
Rachleff's first summer at Interlochen was in 1984, when he conducted the University of Michigan All-State High School Band.
In 1989, he conducted Interlochen's World Youth Symphony Orchestra for the first time, a role he would reprise nearly a dozen times.
Rachleff's final summer at Interlochen Arts Camp was in 2018, when he conducted the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in a program of music by Respighi and Schubert that was broadcast on IPR.
"Larry’s musical genius was obvious to anyone that saw him conduct or met him off the podium," Grammy Award-winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru, a former student of Rachleff's and the current Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Interlochen's World Youth Symphony Orchestra, said in a statement. “He was passionate, funny, knowledgeable, sensitive, caring and supportive, but most of all he had a unique gift of bringing people together and making them feel valued and appreciated."
At the time of his death, Rachleff had served on the faculty of Shepherd School of Music at Rice University for three decades.
He also spent 21 years as the music director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and was a guest conductor and educator at universities and music festivals around the world.
In 2017, Rachleff was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.
"Larry conducted literally hundreds of Interlochen campers over the years," said J. Berry, Assistant Director of Instrument Services and Music Operations at Interlochen Center for the Arts. "He would talk for hours with them over lunch and dinner and would speak with them after the concerts and tell them how they had played. Campers knew that he cared about them as people and as artists."
Watch the archived webcast of Rachleff's final Interlochen conducting appearance on demand below.