Associate Conductor – Houston Symphony
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One of the most talented conductors of his generation, Robert Franz begins his tenure as Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony with the 2008-2009 season. Eminent composer Bright Sheng has praised Franz for his “extremely musical and passionate approach towards music making” and critics have hailed his “masterly pace, emphasis and technical control” calling his conducting “viscerally thrilling.” With the Houston Symphony, Franz will both conduct and create programs for family, education, pops and classical concerts as well as performances given throughout the community.
Franz is also music director designate of the Boise Philharmonic, and music director of the Mansfield Symphony. He will begin his tenure as music director of the Boise Philharmonic in the 2008-2009 season, where he will conduct five pairs of Masterpiece Subscription Concerts over 8 weeks, including multi-media performances of Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, and will begin a new tradition of inviting composers to attend performances of their works and be a part of the Boise community. As music director of the Mansfield Symphony in Ohio, Franz will begin his sixth season with performances of a wide range of great symphonic works, fully staged ballet, opera and Broadway musicals, and a continuation of his highly successful artistic collaborations with other prominent organizations.
With a wide and varying knowledge of symphonic and operatic works, Maestro Franz has worked with some of today’s finest classical soloists, including James Galway, Joshua Bell and Rachel Barton, as well as many of the top pops artists such as Chris Botti, Chaka Khan and Judy Collins. He has been invited to guest conduct orchestras throughout the United States, including multiple appearances with such orchestras as the Rochester Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony and the Columbus Symphony, among others.
A champion of new music, Franz has conducted numerous world premieres. As associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra, he revitalized an ASCAP award-winning new music concert series, and served as co-host of In a Different Key, a weekly contemporary classical music radio program on WUOL.
Winner of the 2008 BPO/ECMEA Music Educators Award for Excellence, Franz is a strong advocate of arts education, and has created arts education programs for the Carolina Chamber Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, West End Chamber Ensemble and the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony, including that organization’s innovative Bolton Research Project. Under his direction the Louisville Orchestra won the Leonard Bernstein Award for Education Programming in 2001 and created a 2.5 hour education program for Kentucky Educational Television entitled, Creating Music and Stories. In 2007, he received the Extraordinary Leadership Award as music director of the Mansfield Symphony.
In addition to his current posts, Franz served as associate conductor of the Louisville Orchestra from 1997 to 2006, the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony and the National Repertory Orchestra, and has led the Louisville Youth Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony. He continues to serve as music director emeritus of the Carolina Chamber Symphony, an orchestra that he founded.
Franz received his Master of Music degree in conducting from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1992, and his Bachelor of Music degree in oboe performance in 1990 from that same institution. He has participated in conducting workshops in the Czech Republic, St. Petersburg (Russia), Nashville (ASOL), the Festival at Sandpoint and was a participant in the 1997 National Conductor Preview (ASOL).
Robert Franz’ biography is from www.HoustonSymphony.org