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).
“Francis led a brilliant and committed performance of this large and colorful canvas of a symphony, keeping close rein on the sprawling structure of the huge first movement while eliciting countless lovely details from the orchestration”Mark Satola, cleveland.com, 18.07.2016
“Five stars all round. The BBC SSO on Thursday night, playing as though there was no tomorrow, and this was their only chance to do it, produced a scorcher of a concert with conductor Michael Francis, a new name to me, but clearly a young man with his eye on the ball and his ear and mind on the score. He’ll be back, I’ll wager”Michael Tumelty, Herald Scotland, 25.04.2016
“The link was inspired, as were the performances under Michael Francis’ sharp and efficient direction”Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 22.04.2016
“Increasingly well respected on both sides of the Atlantic, [Francis’s] programme spotlights Dvorák’s 7th Symphony. The constant dynamic shifts of the heroic Scherzo are played with tremendous verve while Michael Francis’s spirited approach to the rousing Finale propels music and musicians, particularly the emblazoned horns, to a thrilling conclusion”Pat O’Kelly, Independent.ie, 07.04.2014
“From the opening timpani strikes it was immediately clear that this music is Francis’ passion. This was possibly the best concert of the current Helsinki PO season, and further Helsinki performances of British music with Francis are eagerly awaited”Derek Ho, ResMusica, 01.04.2014
“In Francis’ mesmerizing grip, the deep dark grief [of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem] surged quietly, tore agonizingly, built into an excruciating outburst and brightened”Hannu-Ilari Lampila, Helsingin Sanomat, 16.03.2014