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Crazy music for a crazy time

Frank Pommer, Die Rheinpfalz, 14th September 2020

“Chief conductor Michael Francis and artistic director Beat Fehlmann were able to come up with a very appealing, COVID-19-compliant replacement program, which let all wind (and double bass) musicians play first and then it was the string players’ turn. We have not seen this many musicians on a […]

Michael Francis and the State Philharmonic give concerts in the Pfalzbau

Gabor Halasz, Die Rheinpfalz, 27th June 2020

“The joy of music is unwavering, and so is the quality of music performance. This was illustrated once again by the German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate, whose chamber music ensemble played in the Ludwigshafen Palatinate Building. The performance of its principal conductor Michael Francis also justified its place […]

43 Florida Orchestra musicians unite for virtual performance

Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 17th April 2020

It’s been six weeks since the Florida Orchestra’s last performance, and it’ll be another few weeks, at least, before they return.

In the meantime, they just dropped a performance from their homes.

Forty-three musicians have united for a virtual performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, released by the orchestra […]

The Florida Orchestra says ‘Thanks’ and more

Bill DeYoung, St. Pete Catalyst, 17th April 2020

The Florida Orchestra’s music director, Michael Francis, appeared in a wide-ranging Catalyst Sessions interview earlier this week. During a discussion of the organization’s new TFO At Home initiative, he described “a lot of content from us really trying to make sure people will feel very connected.”

TFO At […]

‘Believe in the pencil’: At the Florida Orchestra, the music’s in the margins

Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 23rd March 2020

The violins are late.

The players can’t hear it, but Michael Francis can. He knew he would. It’s common in this section of Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7, a complex whirlpool of interlocking tempos and dynamics. And if he can hear it, the audience might, too.

He waves his […]

Diablerie, Virtuosity, and Melancholy at Pacific Symphony

David J Brown, LA Opus, 4th March 2020

“The combination of never having heard anything by Christopher Rouse performed live, nor yet a Paganini violin concerto or Rachmaninoff’s final symphony in a concert hall for nearly 30 years, was enough to make the PSO’s late February program stand out. Add to that the prospect of […]

Review: 100 Years of the State Philharmonic

Frank Pommer, Die Rheinpfalz, 16th February 2020

“Beethoven. Fifth. Heard so many times before. But not like this. Great is too small a word, because what Michael Francis gets his orchestra to do when it comes to Beethoven is nothing short of incredible. Beethoven’s famous 5th has not sounded like this in a very, […]

Review: Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz

Matthias Ibelshäuser, Die Rheinpfalz, 30th January 2020

“First things first: combining this orchestra with this conductor [Michael Francis] was a stroke of fortune! It is rare to witness such enrapturing, rich and sonorous sounds, especially at performances of Tchaikovsky’s early work. Nothing is held back, nothing is kept in reserve, everyone is bathed in harmonies. […]

A new anthem: Florida Orchestra’s Michael Francis becomes American citizen

Jay Cridlin, Tampa Bay Times, 12th December 2019

“Michael Francis raised his right hand.

Normally when he does this, he’s holding a baton, poised to swoop into a downstroke on a masterwork by Beethoven or Bach.

On Thursday, though, he held a microphone. In his other hand was a program marked with stars and stripes. Before him […]

A Natural Fit of Music and Art

Jane L. Levere, New York Times, 23rd October 2019

“From January through May next year, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla., will display over 100 set designs and original costumes from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts in a traveling exhibition developed by the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. It will […]