Dingwall Fleary is the founding conductor of The McLean Symphony which was established in 1971, and continues to hold that position to the present - a forty-eight year achievement! Simultaneously, he is serving his twenty-eighth season as music director-conductor of the Reston Orchestra. Both groups are based in Northern Virginia. In addition to his achievements as a conductor, he is also pianist, harpsichordist, organist and chamber musician. He has performed throughout the United States and in several cities in Europe.
A native of St. Louis, Mr. Fleary holds degrees from Kansas University, Lawrence, KS, and the School of Music at Northwestern University at Evanston, IL. Among his mentors are conductors Robert Shaw, Vladimir Golshmann, and Franco Ferrara. Prior to moving to Northern Virginia in 1969, he taught music and helped to develop a Kinder Music program at Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, NY. In addition to teaching, he was assistant conductor, pianist and harpsichordist with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. During the summers of 1970 through ’73 he studied chamber music and conducting at L'Accademia di Chigiana, in Siena, Italy, and was chosen to coach international students entering the academy’s program.
In addition to his work with instrumentalists, Dingwall Fleary is known for the ease with which he is able to lead choral ensembles of all sizes. As a pianist, he has had the distinction accompanying many performers from operatic personalities Robert McFerrin and Grace Bumbry (both of whom are also St. Louis natives), to song stylists Nancy Wilson and Virginia-based song stylist, Beverly Cosham. For over a decade he performed as pianist and narrator in a two-man stage production titled, The Measure of a Man: The Life of Paul Robeson-History through Words and Music” which he wrote - a production that was premiered at the National Archives in 1987. Since that auspicious premiere the program has been heard in schools, universities and private organizations throughout the country. He has appeared as a guest conductor and organist with the Finger Lakes Choral Festival in upstate New York, both in Rochester and at the Chautauqua Music Center, and has led concerts with the principal orchestras of St. Louis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Buffalo, as well as numerous regional community orchestras and choruses throughout the U.S. Internationally, Fleary has participated in the Salzburg and Vienna Mozart Festivals in Austria, and has conducted Switzerland's Lausanne Festival Orchestra and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, in the Netherlands.
In the summer of 2009, as part of the annual Summer Arts Festival at Virginia's George Mason University, former NBC news reporter and White House correspondent and author Roger Mudd joined Maestro Fleary, his McLean orchestra and chorus to open the festival. For several summers Maestro Fleary conducted concert performancs of Gerswhin's opera, Porgy and Bess, with the cast of the Virginia Opera, and an orchestra comprised of members of the Richmond Symphony and the Petersburg (Virginia) Symphony Orchestra. On three occasions Fleary has served as guest conductor to the National Gallery Orchestra of Washington, DC, the most recent appearance during the Gallery’s 2016-2017 season.
Fleary has received awards for his creative programming and presentations of contemporary music from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He has served as music director of the International Children’s Festival at the Wolf Trap Farm Park, and for five years was a member of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. In 1994 his native city of St. Louis inducted him into its Hall of Fame, and honor which places him among the city’s most accomplished and respected individuals from a wide variety of professions. Because of his involvement in community educational activities, he has been honored by the McLean Citizen’s Association, the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Urban League, and was the first recipient of the McLean Community Center Arts Award. In addition, since 1991 Mr. Fleary has been director of music and organist at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, in Bethesda, Maryland.