Michael Francis
© Marco BorggreveArtist

„Francis exhibits remarkable ease on the podium. He belongs there.“

Berkshire Review
7 / 23

Biography

The British conductor Michael Francis is becoming one of a young generation of conductor whose presence is being felt on both sides of the Atlantic.  The 2015/16 season will see him take up his position as Music Director of the Florida Orchestra.  In Summer 2015 Michael Francis also presided over his first season as Music Director of the Mainly Mozart Festival, San Diego – only the second Music Director to follow in the footsteps of its’ founder, David Atherton. This is also Francis’s last season as Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.  


 

In Europe, Francis has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, where as a member of the double bass section of the orchestra he developed his conducting skills firstly coming to prominence in 2007 when he replaced an indisposed Valery Gergiev at the BBC’s Gubaidulina Festival in London’s Barbican.    In 2015/16 season Michael Francis will guest conduct in Europe with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist, with Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne with soloist Turls Mørk, Gurzenich Orchestra Koln, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie and the Orquestra da Camera Andres Segovia.   His soloists in his Norrköping season will include Hyeyoon Park, Valentina Lisitsa, Lisa Larsson and Miloš Karadaglić additionally bringing the orchestra to Stockholm’s Konserthuset for performances.

In the USA Michael Francis will make his debut with Cleveland Orchestra and returns to Indianapolis Symphony and Houston Symphony orchestras.  In 2014/15 season Francis returned to Pittsburgh Symphony where as joint co-commissioners with Carnegie Hall, NYC, he conducted a premiere of Jake Heggie.     That same season in Asia Michael Francis made his NHK Symphony debut and returned to Seoul Philharmonic.

Michael Francis has  maintained an impressive schedule of guest engagements which in recent seasons has included Toronto, San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle, New World Symphony orchestras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestra of the Marinsky Theatre, Malaysia Philharmonic, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Radio and Television orchestra of Madrid.  Passionate about working with professional musicians of tomorrow Francis has recently undertaken two extensive projects with the Canadian Youth Orchestra of Canada and National Youth Orchestra of Scotland the latter in collaboration with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist.

Michael Francis has released a recording of the complete Rachmaninov piano concertos with Valentina Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra for Decca in 2013. Francis has recorded Rihm’s Lichtes Spiel with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the New York Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon 2011). Previous recordings with the London Symphony include the Rachmaninov/ Warenberg piano concerto No.5 and Shostakovich No.2 with Julius-Jeongwon Kim (Sony 2011) and the Ravel and Gershwin piano concertos with Ian Parker (Atma 2010).

SAISON 2015/2016

Quotes

“[Francis’s] easily authoritative readings of Dvorak’s Violin Concerto (with the doughty soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter) and New World Symphony provided a frame of familiarity for seldom-heard works by the somewhat neglected Polish composer (long resident here) Andrzej Panufnik, whose centenary year this is. His Sinfonia Sacra (1966) gave the concert a spectacular beginning.”

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 16.02.14

“Zu Beginn des Stuttgarter Konzerts setzte Francis “Three places in New England – Orchestral Suite I” von Charles Ives in Szene, technisch souverän, musikalisch mutig. Denn Ives’ windschiefe Konstruktionen, in denen die Kunstmusiken der Alten Welt mit den Unterhaltungsmusiken der Neuen Welt nebeneinander paradieren wie Musikkapellen während eines Straßenumzugs, diese windschiefen Musiken müssen dynamisch so sorgfältig austariert werden wie eine mehrstimmige Fuge aus der Feder Bachs. Francis tat dies.”

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Annette Eckerle, 23.01.12

“Das RSO Stuttgart spielte kongenial, auch weil Francis so beherzt wie blendend analytisch dirigierte.”

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Annette Eckerle, 21.01.12

“Francis exhibits remarkable ease on the podium. He belongs there.”

Berkshire Review, Steven Kruger, 17.07.11

“Guest conductor Michael Francis whipped the Oregon Symphony into a veritable whirlwind of sound during Bohuslav Martinù’s Fantaisies symphoniques… Francis displayed an incredible array of gestures and stickwork to inspire the orchestra to reach into the emotional complexity of Martinù's music and express it to the fullest. The wildest gyrations seemed to be spot on every single time, and the ending result was stunning.”

Oregon Music News, James Bash, 11.04.11

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Discography

Rihm: Lichtes Spiel / Currier: Time MachinesMichael Francis with Anne Sophie Mutter and New York PhilharmonicSep. 2011, DGG, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon
Ravel, Stravinsky & Gershwin - Piano ConcertosMichael Francis with the London Symphony Orchester and works by Ravel (Piano Concerto in G major), Stravinsky (Capriccio) and Gershwin (Piano Concerto in F major)Jul. 2010, ATMA Classics, CD, Available on: iTunes Amazon