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 […]

The Florida Orchestra taps composer Michael Ippolito to capture the state’s sound

Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 23rd February 2018

The composer sat in semi-darkness, his hand drifting like a slow pendulum at his side. On the Mahaffey Theater stage, the violins led a creaking and mysterious journey through a cypress swamp, the inspiration for the first movement.

The conductor stopped.

“Can we try something?” Florida Orchestra music director […]

Florida Orchestra mixes it up, collaborates with community in 2018-19 season

Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 8th February 2018

Themes are useful sometimes. Right now, the Florida Orchestra is still enjoying the heart of its 50th anniversary season, which has been big and loud and celebratory.

At other times, maybe it’s best to just put a fine program together and let the public decide what to call […]

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 […]

Sting performs with the Florida Orchestra for 50th Anniversary Gala

Gabriella Angotti-Jones and Chris Urso, Tampa Bay Times, 10th December 2017

Sting was the guest and performer of honor for the Florida Orchestra’s fundraising gala Saturday in St. Pete. Sting performed some of his notable songs; Englishman in New York, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and Roxanne.

Sting rocks the house with old and new hits in Florida Orchestra gala

Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 10th December 2017

“The gala, the orchestra’s only major fund-raising event of the year, raised a record $1.5 million, money that will be used for securing soloists and expanding community work in such areas as schools and hospitals.”

Florida Orchestra blazes through Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture

Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 28th October 2017

“All of those threads come together, however, in the fourth movement, a furious gathering of dozens of themes growing in real time to a smashing conclusion. [Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2] challenges both musicians and the audience to stay abreast of a multitude of its joyously twisting shapes. […]

Students get an opportunity to make music with Florida Orchestra

Michele Miller, Tampa Bay Times, 23rd October 2017

The excitement was palpable as students hopped off their school buses and streamed into the Center for the Arts at River Ridge.

“We’re packed, sold out,” said the center’s director, Rick D’Onofrio, sporting a wide grin as he guided the chattering students into their seats while members of […]

Fortune smiles on Florida Orchestra’s 50th season opening

Andrew Meacham, Tampa Bay Times, 3rd August 2017

“…this night and this event was all about the orchestra, which showed care and precision throughout. Under the baton of music director Michael Francis, an all-hands-on-deck contingent navigated the sharp turns that compellingly drive the piece.”