Florida Orchestra names Michael Francis music director beginning in 2015-16

Posted on: June 25, 2014

“The global search went on for three years, but in the end it took just two key performances for Florida Orchestra leaders to know they had their conductor,” writes Stephanie Hayes in Tuesday’s (6/24) Tampa Bay Times. “On Tuesday, they named British musician Michael Francis as the orchestra’s new music director.” Currently chief conductor of Sweden’s Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, the 37-year-old Francis will begin his three-year term as Florida Orchestra music director in 2015-16 and will serve as music director designate in 2014-15. He succeeds Stefan Sanderling, who left the orchestra in 2012, two years before his contract was up. Hayes writes that as a youth Francis was a self-styled “mad sportsman” and played string bass, caught the conducting bug in his teens, and in 2007 “replaced Valery Gergiev with the London Symphony Orchestra” on two hours’ notice. Invited to conduct the Florida Orchestra last November and again in May, he “charmed everyone right away, [President Michael] Pastreich said. ‘He … became the clear favorite by the end of his first week. … There’s a rare confidence about him. It’s clear that this guy knows where he’s going.’ ”

Posted June 25, 2014

Photo of Michael Francis by Marco Borggreve