Frank Pommer, Die Rheinpfalz, 7th April 2022

“Michael Francis is once again the ideal type of mediating conductor. He doesn’t resemble at all the cliché of the detached maestro basking in applause. Instead, he wants to explain what he is doing, both to his musicians and to the audience. And he is able to inspire both sides, to electrify them with his style. This was also the case at the press conference when, for example, when he described the Mahler version of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, which the orchestra will play both in the concert in Ludwigshafen and also record on CD, as “Beethoven on steroids”. You could also say: ‘Beethoven, pimped up’.

But during the crisis, also the musicians of the orchestra have proven themselves. They never lost contact with the people in the region, not even during the two lockdowns. Unusual, Corona-compliant formats were developed, and they were always present, never silent, be it in retirement homes, at weekly markets, in churches, or on city towers. One had and still has the impression that the orchestra did not just follow the innovative path set out by its artistic director. It energizes them with constantly new ideas.”