Michael Francis, Music Director
The Jay B and Marsha Starkey Chair
Michael Francis has quickly established himself internationally, conducting in Asia, North America, and Europe. Known for maintaining a diverse repertoire while paying particular homage to the composers of his native Britain, Francis enjoys a great reception throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Last season, Francis debuted with the Atlanta and Montreal symphony orchestras and Cincinnati’s May Music Festival, and he returned to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Emanuel Ax. Abroad, he appeared with Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken, Komische Oper Berlin, Dresden Philharmonic, Tampere Filharmonia, and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra.
Other guest appearances have included the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Royal Philharmonic, with return engagements to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, RTÉ National Symphony of Dublin, Ulster Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Cincinnati, Ottawa, Oregon, Houston, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh. His European engagements have included the London Symphony, BBC Scottish Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid, Helsinki Philharmonic, Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, and Stuttgart Radio Symphony. In Asia, Maestro Francis has conducted the NHK Symphony and has returned to the Malaysia and Seoul philharmonics.
Working with young musicians has always been a priority for Maestro Francis. Aside from a six-city Canadian tour with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, he has made frequent visits to Miami’s New World Symphony and recently performed with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland.
After several years as a tenured double-bass player in the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), he came to prominence as a conductor in January 2007, replacing an indisposed Valery Gergiev for concerts with the LSO during the BBC’s Gubaidulina festival at the Barbican Centre. Just one month later, Francis was asked, this time with only two hours’ notice, to replace the composer/conductor John Adams in a performance of his own works with the LSO at the Philharmonie Luxembourg, and soon after in January 2009, he replaced André Previn leading a German tour of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony.
Soloists that he works with include Lang Lang, Arcadi Volodos, Christian Tetzlaff, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Vadim Gluzman, Nicola Benedetti, Baiba Skride, Jamie Barton, Alisa Weilerstein, Truls Mørk, Håkan Hardenberger, Daniel Müller-Schott, Miloš and Rufus Wainwright.
Francis’ discography includes the Rachmaninoff piano concertos with Valentina Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra, Wolfgang Rihm’s Lichtes Spiel with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic, and the Ravel and Gershwin piano concertos with Ian Parker.
Now entering his third season as music director of The Florida Orchestra, Francis’ contract has already been extended to 2021. He is also music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, where he has launched an ambitious multi-year exploration of Mozart’s life. He was recently chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 2012 to 2016.
For more information, please visit www.michaelfrancisconductor.com.