Florida Orchestra music director helps grad students master the art of conducting

Posted on: March 9, 2017

In Wednesday’s (3/8) Tampa Bay Times, Andrew Meacham writes about a conducting master class at the University of South Florida School of Music led by Michael Francis, music director of the Florida Orchestra. “For aspiring conductors, on-the-spot tutoring by someone of Francis’ expertise and visibility is one of those benefits without a price tag.… ‘My job,’ Francis said, ‘is to unite and bring the best out of the musicians, so that the listener may experience the fullness of the composers’ intentions.’ Good conductors know a concerto better than anyone else. They serve both as unifiers and interpreters of sound. The best ones make their musicians think.… It’s a message Francis would revisit after a break, when the workshop reconvened in USF’s concert hall, and three students conducted the entire Florida Orchestra. ‘Show the music,’ he said. ‘They don’t need you beating the time.… This is not air traffic control,’ he told Andi Zdrava, who had just conducted the full orchestra. ‘You are trying to take what this dead composer wrote as the last tome of his life and emit it in a way that they can play at their best.’ ”

Posted March 9, 2017