Michael Francis, the Florida Orchestra's new music director, will be starting with the 2015/2016 season, serving as Music Director Designate for the upcoming 2014/2015 season.
According the Orchestra's spokesperson, the orchestra’s music director search took more than three years and the appointment was made earlier than expected. The orchestra projected the process to take four years, according to a press statement sent Tuesday evening.
Francis’ first appearance as a guest conductor with The Florida Orchestra was in November, leading a program of Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 with Orli Shaham as the soloist.
Next season, Francis will conduct two masterworks programs. The first, Oct. 24-26, features Concertmaster Jeffrey Multer as the soloist in Barber’s Violin Concerto on a program with Ives’ Central Park in the Dark and Elgar’s Symphony No. 1, and the second, Feb. 7-8, includes Dutilleux’s Métaboles, Ravel’s Ma Mère L’Oye (Mother Goose) and Faure’s Requiem, featuring soprano Lauren Snoeffer and baritone Sean Plumb with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.
"With Michael, from the very first moment, we sensed the good chemistry," said Jeffrey Multer, committee member and TFO concertmaster in the press statement. "We responded well to him, and he to us. I could feel that the orchestra was responding fully. He made the orchestra feel good. That’s key. If an orchestra doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t sound good.”
"During the very first rehearsal with the orchestra, I could sense an enthusiasm and passion to make music together that was truly exciting," Francis said.
Francis added that he is looking forward to setting up for a new life in the Bay area. His wife grew up in Lutz.