“For his first season leading the Florida Orchestra, the silken thread running through the selections is not what you might expect from British conductor Michael Francis: America,” writes Stephanie Hayes in Sunday’s (2/8) Tampa Bay Times. “The Florida Orchestra announced its 2015-16 season today, packed with red, white, blue and all shades in between. That includes artists who immigrated to America during their careers…. In the 14 masterworks programs from October to May 2016, expect to hear selections that work toward this idea, including Copland’s Appalachian Spring [on a program that] ends with Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 6, a postwar piece.… The orchestra will perform Rachmaninoff’s cantata The Bells with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay … based on the writing of American poet Edgar Allan Poe. It is paired with Rouse’s Prospero’s Rooms and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition…. Francis is leaving his imprint on the pops series, kicking it off by conducting A Night at the Oscars, featuring music from Lawrence of Arabia, Rocky, The Lord of the Rings and the James Bond movies.… Principal pops conductor Jeff Tyzik and guest conductors will conduct the rest of the pops concerts.”

Posted February 10, 2015

Pictured: Michael Francis leads the Florida Orchestra, October 2014. Photo by James Borchuk