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Michael Francis

Michael Francis, conductor

Michael Francis is a natural leader on and off the stage. Currently holding three long-term positions with community-driven, innovative organizations, Francis has been Music Director of the Florida Orchestra since 2015–16, Chief Conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz since 2019–20, and Music Director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego since 2014. All three organizations not only survived but thrived in the Covid-affected 2020–21 season, as he protected his musicians through testing partnerships with local research facilities and quickly adapted his programming to smaller ensembles, split-orchestra concerts, drive-in concerts and curated online experiences.

Internationally established as a guest artist, Francis has brought his distinguished programming to audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His recent and upcoming engagements include the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Houston Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, RSB Berlin, MDR Leipzig, 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, NHK Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Japan Philharmonic and Seoul Philharmonic.

He 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 and Rufus Wainwright.

Mentoring young musicians is of an utmost priority. In addition to leading the Florida Orchestra's community engagement initiatives, he has enjoyed collaborations with the New World Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Francis's 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.

Francis makes his home in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, Cindy, and daughter, Annabella.

Photo Credit: Marco Borggreve