Ex-LSO doublebass is now fixture in Florida

Ex-LSO doublebass is now fixture in Florida


norman lebrecht

September 30, 2018

The Florida Orchestra has renewed the contract of its music director for a second time, giving Michael Francis a nine-year run, up to 2024.

Francis, 42, got his conducting break standing in for Valery Gergiev when the Russian failed to show for rehearsals.

He was then chosen by Valentina Lisitsa to conduct her epic Rachmaninov recordings.



  • Been Here Before says:

    I realize that 90% of stuff written here by NL serves as a bait to elicit response, however, nothing ever recorded by Lisitsa can be considered epic. She is a sub-par pianist who owes her career to youtube.

    • Olassus says:

      Igor Levit, Daniil Trifonov, Lang Lang and a number of touted others have limitations too.

      • Been Here Before says:

        Have you been smoking anything? You can’t put even LL in the same league as Lisitsa – she is a total joke!

        • Robert Groen says:

          Hey! Another great expert on pianism has joined our SD ranks! Welcome to you Sir, I look forward to learning much from you. Lisitsa a joke, eh? Not in the same league as Lang Lang? Well, I never! I should perhaps listen more carefully….

          • Been Here Before says:

            Robert, as I just wrote below, from your previous posts I can see that you are a good man – so I will be kind.

            I have been here for a year or two under this nick and several more before that under another one.

            Again, wishing to be kind to a 76 yr old gentleman – yes, you still have to listen a lot and learn about piano. Then you will know what I am talking about.

          • Been Here Before says:

            A brief clarification: a) LL – a gifted technician who could have been a great artist had he followed a different path. b) VL – a pianist who owes her career to youtube and attractive appearance

      • Robert Groen says:

        We all do, Olassus, but you don’t have to shove yours down our throats.

    • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

      Bravo, for your significant and very truthful insight into Herrn Lebrecht’s “bait” tactics! However, I have been “banned” on his website, for suggesting, I repeat, suggesting, a correction of an English translation from a German article. Nevertheless, truth is a rare commodity not readily accepted.

    • Bruce says:

      Whatever. I think she’s great.

  • Karen says:

    This conductor has come in and dismissed several older and “heavier” fantastic musicians. He has offered others pay offs to resign. He may be an “ok” musician , but as a “conductor “, who deals with actual human beings , he is a supreme douche; but he will have a very pretty orchestra some day. … just as his 42 year old middle-aged -spread is starting to show. He better be careful of his own requirements.

    • professor says:

      He must have some personal skills if he survived a contract renewal at this notoriously difficult and pissy orchestra.

      • Bruce says:

        Personal skills relating to the board, perhaps. Any number of professional musicians can tell you: a conductor doesn’t have to be liked by the musicians to get his contract renewed (often more than once).

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Just to correct you, he stood in for Gergiev who had flu and was able to conduct the LSO, quite ably in a difficult piece by Sofia Gubudalina. He had previously taken part in a Masterclass in Rotterdam with their Philharmonic as part of a Gergiev Festival. Workman like.

  • Anon says:

    He also stood in for John Adams and conducted his works at a concert. Clever person. Lots of green eyed people out there.

  • Ben G. says:

    What is it with these bass players who want to be conductors? Bottesini, Koussevitsky, Metha, Lahav Shani, and now this dude. When well played in a section, the instrument itself is enough to overpower any conductor’s desired to lead a group, be it classical, rock or jazz. They could have been great bass players, but no–their egos decided otherwise.

    • Robert Groen says:

      Interesting (sort of) point. Norman L. take note? What former instrumentalists make the best conductors? Obviously not double bass players, according to Ben G. What then? Oboists? Pianists? Percussionists? Let’s have a debaye on this and see if we can slag off Putin in the process.

    • Bruce says:

      A short list of well-known conductors, off the top of my head (with occasional help from Wikipedia), and the instruments they play/played:

      Abbado – piano
      Karajan – piano
      Ozawa – piano
      Giulini – viola
      Colin Davis – clarinet
      de Waart – oboe
      Haitink – violin
      Marriner – violin
      Maazel – violin
      Muti – piano
      Salonen – horn

      The only percussionist I can think of offhand is Rattle, though surely he isn’t the only one.

      Anyone else care to add to the list and/or make comments about how a conductor’s instrumental background might have influenced their conducting?

    • Pamela Brown says:

      It may be catching — there is one in Minnesota who juggles the MO and a local band, the MSO…

  • Ed says:


    • Simon Scott says:

      Bernstein,Previn,Solti: piano.
      Charles Munch,van Beinum,V Neuman:
      Fruhbeck de Burgos: violin and piano