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 has a contract extension through the 2023/24 season. His role in building a wide variety of transformative community engagement initiatives has significantly grown the organization. He has been music director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California, since 2014, with a contract renewal through the summer of 2023, and he continues his ambitious multi-year exploration of Mozart’s life. In the 2019/20 season, Francis began his tenure as chief conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. He was chief conductor and artistic advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 2012 to 2016.

Recent engagements include a debut with the Detroit Symphony, as well as return performances with the Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Tampere Philharmonic, Philharmonia, MDR Leipzig, RSB Berlin and Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken.

Previous and upcoming highlights include North American performances with the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, and 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 Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE Madrid, Mariinsky Orchestra, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Scottish Symphony. In Asia, Francis has worked with the NHK Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan and the philharmonic orchestras of Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Seoul.

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 Francis.  He has also frequently conducted Miami’s New World Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. Francis works on a regular basis with young musicians in Florida as part of the orchestra’s community engagement initiative.

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.

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.

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