Given all the time and effort Randall’s been putting in on our 40th reunion (which is of course greatly appreciated), one might think he has no other life outside of trying to herd in all of us HHS cats. Lest we all actually start believing that, I thought we should quickly add him to the list of “profiles” that he’s started writing about us.
As a kid going to JJHS and HHS, Randall was musical, sharp, and very funny. I don’t think anyone expected to see this guy end up in a white lab coat or stiff 3-piece suit – he was far too original for that sort of thing. Upon reconnecting almost 40 years later, I was not at all surprised by Randall's chosen life path. It was a relief to see that he’d lost neither his edge nor his humor – and that such traits are well ingrained into the music he has created for the world to enjoy. And he seems to have had such fun doing it all. How cool is that?
Randall composes and publishes "new music," which he describes as being very hard to describe because it can range from rock songs to avant garde warblings. “I like to partake of all of the above and more.” Indeed! Samples of his music show evidence of its depth and breadth of style – from an orchestral work sounding like a sweeping epic movie soundtrack, to a fun tango written about two central Missouri towns - and from a Nike mini-opera commercial featuring Charles Barkley, to some stunning sacred choral music (I loved “Demas” from The Fourth Wise Man). His works have been performed hundreds of times throughout the U.S. and Europe and have attracted the attention of critics, performers and audiences alike for its drama, beauty, and accessibility.
Randall’s also collaborated with Garrison Keillor to produce two successful, large-scale works: The Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra (I, who grew up as a Norwegian Lutheran, could especially relate to that one) along with a humorous oratorio, The History of Evil: Bible Families.
Living in Minneapolis, Randall is currently General Director at Junior Composers. He is also Concert Host at St. Paul Conservatory of Music, and owns Boys Art Music, through which he publishes his music. Randall holds both BSS (Cornell) and MA (Minnesota) degrees in Music Theory and Composition.
Randall comes from a family of musicians, and it's great to see that he is passing on his talent and passion for music through his own progeny. He’s married to Merilee Klemp, who plays and teaches oboe as well as teaches music history and chamber music at Augsburg College. Their 19 year-old son, Ben, seems to have not only inherited, but amplified his parents’ musical traits: he’s a composition student at Augustana College whose instruments include voice, guitar and French horn. We'll stay tuned for more great things yet to come out of this remarkable family!
Submitted by Cindy (Cooper) Shaw