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Michael Francis is here to stay through 2030

Great news! Our internationally acclaimed Music Director Michael Francis has signed a contract extension through at least the 2029-30 season. That means he is devoting 15 years to the state’s largest professional orchestra and the Tampa Bay community.

Unanimously approved by TFO’s Board of Directors, the agreement would make Francis TFO’s longest-serving music director since Irwin Hoffman, the orchestra’s first conductor from 1968 to 1988. This is the third contract extension for Francis, who was an instant hit when he became music director in the 2015-16 season.

During his nine-year tenure, Francis has built the orchestra artistically into what it is today. He has had the final say in hiring nearly half of the orchestra – 29 of the 70 current full-time musicians and conductors. With a unique blend of wit and analysis, Francis is popular for helping audiences feel a deep, personal connection to the music through Pre-Concert Conversations and his signature Inside the Music series. In 2022, Francis was instrumental in forging a new partnership with Opera Tampa to provide live TFO music for productions for the first time in 20 years.

“At the heart of my decision to stay are the wonderful musicians and patrons of TFO. We are building a remarkable orchestra, one with a unified dedication and commitment to performing live music at a world-class level each weekend. Making music with these incredible musicians for our highly engaged audiences is deeply inspiring,” said Francis, who was born near London but lives locally with his wife, Cindy, and daughter, Annabella. In 2019, he became a U.S. citizen.

Now in its 56th season, the nonprofit Florida Orchestra has achieved steady year-over-year growth in attendance and fundraising support from the community, corporate and foundation sponsors, and partners. For the first time this season, the Hough Family has made a generous commitment as sponsors of Music Director Michael Francis. TFO serves the Tampa Bay community with more than 150 concerts and music education and outreach programs each season.

More bio on Michael Francis, click here