Another baton rising from the ranks

Another baton rising from the ranks


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2011

A double-bass player in the London Symphony Orchestra has just landed his first big job as chief conductor in Norrköping, Sweden.

Michael Francis made a habit these past few years of stepping in for Valery Gergiev when he’s late for rehearsal, or misses the concert. He has landed himself good management at Cami in New York and Schmid in Germany and that has led to dates with the New York Philharmonic and other big bands. He knows orchestras from the inside and tends to get asked back. Here’s the press release.

Norrköping has long been a nursery for good conductors. Its last successful incumbent was Franz Welser-Möst, now chief in Cleveland and Vienna.

But it’s the LSO that’s the real incubator. Ever since Neville Marriner, leader of the second violins, broke out to form his Academy-of-St-Martin-in-the-Fields in the 1950s, there has been a spirit in the ranks that some of the players could do better than the batons they booked.

Barry Tuckwell and John Georgiades were next, more at the tip of my tongue. Way to go, LSO.



  • mhtetzel says:

    Very interesting Richard Morrison´s book: Orchestra The LSO: A century of trimph and turbulence.

  • Simon Streatfeild is another conductor to come from the LSO. As principal viola player of the LSO (also founder member of the Academy of St Martin’s) he was influenced by the inspirational conducting of Pierre Monteux and went on to hold key conducting positions in Canada. Lately, Simon Streatfeild has also conducted the LPO in their series of concerts in Eastbourne.