Michael Francis
Michael Francis © Marco BorggreveArtist
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Biography

British conductor Michael Francis is one of a young generation of conductor whose presence is being felt on both sides of the Atlantic.  In Autumn 2015 Michael Francis took up his post as Music Director of the Florida Orchestra in Tampa, FL.  In Summer 2016 Michael Francis presided over his second 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.   He was Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra 2012 - 2016.  

In Europe, Francis has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, where, as a member of the double bass section of the orchestra his conducting skills firstly came to prominence with a remarkable debut in 2007 when he replaced an indisposed Valery Gergiev at the BBC’s Gubaidulina Festival in London’s Barbican.    2017/18 season includes performances with London’s Philharmonia, BBC Philharmonic, Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Komische Oper Berlin.  He makes a welcome return to Seoul Philharmonic and in USA he will conduct the Milwaukee and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras. Soloists Michael Francis will collaborate with next season include Ian Bostridge, Ray Chen, Maximilian Hornung, the Labéque sisters, Daniel Müller-Schott, Javier Perianes and Joyce Yang.


Michael Francis maintains an impressive schedule of guest engagements having recently guest conducted the Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony with Emanuel Ax as soloist, Atlanta Symphony with Benjamin Grosvenor and in New York he made his debut with the Orchestra of St Luke’s.      He has also conducted the San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, New World Symphony orchestras, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Orchestra of the Mariinsky 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).

SEASON 2016/2017

Quotes

“The ASO performed beautifully, with the strings sounding especially full and warm. Vaughan Williams’ music was turned out beautifully under Maestro Francis’ baton. It was truly a fine performance”

William E Ford, Bachtrack, 25.02.2017

“Francis […] drew a well-managed, splendidly evocative performance from the ASO musicians”

Mark Gresham, Arts Atlanta, 24.02.2017

“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

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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: 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