Michael Francis leads The Cleveland Orchestra in all-Czech program at Blossom

Timothy Robson, Cleveland Classical, 8th August 2018

“The Cleveland Orchestra played a concise and musically satisfying program of works by three Czech composers: Smetana, Janáček, and Dvořák. British conductor Michael Francis led the stylish performance…

[Šárka: The Warrior Woman, the third movement of Smetana’s symphonic cycle Má Vlast (“My Homeland”)] and throughout the concert, Francis drew […]

Cleveland Orchestra heats up Blossom with rare Czech program

Mark Satola, The Plain Dealer, 6th August 2018

“Guest conductor Michael Francis, music director of the Tampa Bay-based Florida Orchestra since 2015, delivered electrifying performances of Smetana’s “Sarka,” Janacek’s “Taras Bulba,” and the dramatic Symphony No. 7 in D minor by Dvorak, to a medium-sized audience. Those who didn’t attend missed one of the most […]

Review: Mainly Mozart

Ken Herman, San Diego Story, 18th June 2018

“…the evening’s award for most audacious ensemble work came from 15 members of the orchestra who gave a vibrant account of Igor Stravinsky’s sparkling, neoclasical “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto from 1938…Francis had the Mainly Mozart players stand for their performance, which added to their athletic but supremely refined […]

Mainly Mozart Festival gives Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky first-class treatment

Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17th June 2018

“Festival director Michael Francis led 15 musicians in a crackling performance. Many groups play the outer movements of “Dumbarton Oaks” under tempo, but Francis matched the speeds of Stravinsky’s own recordings…All 10 string players marvelously dug into their parts, playing with bite or sweetness as appropriate, slamming […]

Review: Mainly Mozart Festival

Ken Herman, San Diego Story, 11th June 2018

“For Sergei’s Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise,” the program opener, the additional strings from the Youth Orchestra gave the Festival Orchestra an unusually lush, satiny sonority that could not have been better suited to the composer’s effulgent style: urgent, dramatic surges capped with dreamy themes. Francis certainly appeared delighted to […]

Michael Francis and Anne-Marie McDermott Inspire Exotic Fare in Opening Mainly Mozart Festival Concert

Ken Herman, San Diego Story, 10th June 2018

“Michael Francis opened the 30th installment of San Diego’s annual Mainly Mozart Festival Saturday with an ebullient orchestra concert that brought back the excitement of the festival’s heady beginnings under David Atherton.”

“Even if festival Music Director Francis had not titled this concert “Rebel with a Cause,” the […]

A rare, fiery performance of a Rebel ballet kicks off Mainly Mozart Festival

Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10th June 2018

“At the Balboa Theater on Saturday evening, Mainly Mozart director Michael Francis brought down his baton to unleash a grinding orchestral dissonance that sounded as if it had time-traveled from 1950s Darmstadt back to early 18th-century Paris.”

“…the all-star orchestra followed Francis with delicious precision.”

“This was an exciting […]

English conductor makes thrilling Minnesota Orchestra debut with Vaughan Williams symphony

Terry Blain, Star Tribune, 11th May 2018

“If unfamiliarity was a problem for the Minnesota Orchestra musicians at the beginning of this week’s rehearsals, it had evaporated by the time of Thursday’s performance. Led with great clarity by young English conductor Michael Francis, the players gave a coruscating account of Vaughan Williams’ symphony.

The Sixth opens […]

Sorrow suffuses one of best Minnesota Orchestra concerts of season

Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press, 10th May 2018

“Making his Minnesota Orchestra debut on the podium was English conductor Michael Francis, and it felt as if the orchestra’s musicians trusted his interpretations wholeheartedly. You may attribute that to his understanding of the place of the Britten and Vaughan Williams pieces in his country’s cultural history, for […]

Elgar’s great Symphony No.1 triumphs at the Segerstrom

David J Brown, LA Opus, 18th January 2018

“…how well did Mr. Francis convey his obvious commitment and interpretative insights to an orchestra that had never played the work before? To my ears, the result showed the Pacific Symphony to be more responsive and skillful in their realizing of such an unfamiliar and complex masterpiece […]