Conductors

Michael Francis, Music Director

The Jay B and Marsha Starkey Chair

Michael Francis has quickly established himself as one of the leading international conductors of today.

Appointed Music Director of the Florida Orchestra in the fall of 2014, he is now entering his seventh season with a contract extension through the 2024-25 season. His role in building a wide variety of transformative community engagement initiatives has significantly grown the organization. Since 2014 as Music Director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California with a contract renewal through the summer of 2023, he continues his ambitious multi-year exploration of Mozart’s life. Now in his third season, Francis continues as Chief Conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. Previously, he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 2012-16. 

Previous and upcoming highlights include North American performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Rochester Philharmonic, the symphony orchestras of Cincinnati, St. Louis, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Pacific, Montreal, Toronto and National Arts Centre (Ottawa). In Europe, he has conducted the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Helsinki Philharmonic, the Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid, the Mariinsky Orchestra, the London Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Scottish Symphony. In Asia, Maestro Francis has worked with the NHK Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan as well as the philharmonic orchestras of Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Seoul.

Michael Francis has collaborated with notable soloists such as Lang Lang, Arcadi Volodos, Itzhak Perlman, Christian Tetzlaff, Vadim Gluzman, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Nicola Benedetti, Javier Perianes, Jamie Barton, Truls Mørk, Håkan Hardenberger, Maximilian Hornung, Miloš, Benjamin Grosvenor, Emanuel Ax, Ian Bostridge, James Ehnes, Sting, Rufus Wainwright and many others.

Educational outreach with young musicians is of utmost priority for Maestro Francis. He regularly works with young musicians in Florida as part of the orchestra’s community engagement initiative. He has also enjoyed collaborations with the New World Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and National Youth Orchestra of Canada. 

Francis’ discography includes the Rachmaninov 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.

A former double-bass player in the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), Michael Francis came to prominence as a conductor in January of 2007 stepping in for Valery Gergiev and John Adams with the LSO.

Francis makes his home in Tampa, FL with his wife Cindy and six-year-old daughter Annabella.