Michael Francis

Conductor

Biography

The rising, young British conductor, Michael Francis, is receiving conducting engagements and accolades around the world. Following a fall 2010 debut concert with the San Francisco Symphony, Mr. Francis was immediately given a two year invitation to conduct the ten classical concerts of the orchestra’s annual summer concert series. The 2010-11 season also held successful debuts with the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Munchner Symphoniker, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Oregon Symphony Orchestra. This series of successes has catapulted Michael Francis far beyond the amazing ‘step-in’ engagements with the London Symphony when he replaced Valery Gergiev and John Adams.
In October 2010, Michael appeared with the Norrkoping Symfoniorkester in Sweden, as well as made his debut with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. As a result of his success in Sweden, Michael Francis was recently appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra (Sweden) for a three year term to begin in the 2012/13 season. A major highlight of the 2010/11 season saw Mr. Francis make his debut with the New York Philharmonic for the world premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's newest piece for violin and orchestra, Lichtes Spiel, with Anne-Sophie Mutter.
True to form, Michael Francis was welcomed by the Oregon Symphony Orchestra for a last minute engagement, and showcased his expert skills to both the public and the orchestra members alike, resulting in an immediate re-engagement with Oregon Symphony less than one month later. Mr. Francis also conducted the Orchestre de Pau in March 2011, and spent summer 2011 and New Year’s Eve with the San Francisco Symphony. He has been invited back for the summer of 2012 to conduct nine more concerts in their summer festival. He also made his Houston Symphony debut in June 2011. In spring 2012, Michael will join forces with Ms. Mutter once again for a European tour, performing Sebastian Currier's Violin Concerto with the RSO Stuttgart. He will also return to Asia with Mrs. Mutter in 2012 for concerts in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and will return to the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra shortly thereafter.
Mr. Francis will make his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony in 2012, as well as with Vancouver and Toronto Symphonies, and will return to both Oregon and Seattle Symphonies.
In January 2009, Michael was asked to replace André Previn to conduct four concerts with Anne-Sophie Mutter and Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart. The programs included Gubaidulina’s Violin Concerto, In Tempus Praesens; Previn’s Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass with Roman Patkoló; and Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler. All four concerts received great critical praise. After this triumphant debut, the RSO Stuttgart engaged Michael to conduct concerts in June 2009, for Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and most recently in March 2010, where his performances of Sibelius’ 7th Symphony and Prokofiev’s 7th Symphony were highly received in the press. In January 2010, Mr. Francis made his Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France debut, and was invited to return in November 2010. In April 2010, he worked with Anne-Sophie Mutter, conducting a series of concerts in Japan and Taiwan with the National Taipei Symphony Orchestra and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. During this tour, Mr. Francis was asked last minute to stand in to conduct the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, to great triumph.
Michael Francis came to prominence as a conductor in January 2007 when he was asked, with 12 hours’ notice, to replace an indisposed Valery Gergiev for the rehearsals and performance of Gubaidulina's Märchen-Poem and Pro et Contra with the London Symphony Orchestra during the BBC Gubaidulina festival at the Barbican Centre. Only one month later, Michael was asked, this time with only two hours’ notice, to replace the composer/conductor John Adams in a performance of his own works with the LSO at the Philharmonie Luxembourg: the program was Slonimsky’s Earbox, The Dharma at Big Sur (an electric violin concerto with Leila Josefowicz) and Naïve and Sentimental Music. In October 2008, Michael was a finalist in the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, were he conducted the LSO in a performance of Ravel’s Daphnis & Chloe Suite No. 2 to critical acclaim.
The LSO first became aware of Michael’s conducting ability when he took a rehearsal, with no notice, of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony on a tour of Lithuania in 2006. The orchestra has since continued to regularly invite Michael to conduct rehearsals as an assistant to Valery Gergiev, as well as education concerts, composers’ workshops, brass concerts and string orchestra concerts. He regularly conducts the LSO in the recording studio, where he has recorded piano concerti with the young Canadian pianist, Ian Parker, and has just completed collaborating with Valentina Lisitsa and the London Symphony Orchestra on recordings Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos Nos. 1 through 4 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which are scheduled to be released in Spring 2011.
Following a highly successful master class with Maestro Gergiev and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra during the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam 2007, Michael was invited to conduct a series of concerts with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra in June and October 2008. He made his Concertgebouw debut conducting the Netherlands Philharmonic in September 2009. Michael was also subsequently asked by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra to assist Valery Gergiev for his entire Brahms Cycle and 2008 Festival where he has conducted many rehearsals and worked with artists such as Nelson Friere, Janine Jansen, Ekaterina Gubanova, Mariusz Kwiecien, Solveig Kringelborn and the Swedish Radio Choir.
In November 2008, Michael made his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonie du Luxembourg in a concert with Roberto Alagna, and in July 2009 Michael made his debut with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra with a program including Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Ricardo Morales. In late May of 2009, Michael conducted the Mariinsky Orchestra in St. Petersburg for a celebration honoring the outstanding international prize winners of the Musical Olympus Festival, with a program featuring Dvořák, Othello Overture, the Elgar Cello Concerto and numerous opera arias. He has been asked by Daniel Harding to conduct rehearsals with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and by Michael Tilson Thomas to work with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami.

Related Links