In Wednesday’s (10/22) Tampa Bay Times, Stephanie Hayes profiles Michael Francis, incoming music director of the Florida Orchestra. “All eyes will be on Francis this weekend, when he guest conducts the Florida Orchestra in his first series of concerts since being named music director in June. He will conduct two more series this season, even though his three-year contract doesn’t start until the 2015 season. He was in town preparing for his new home life and this weekend’s program: Ives’ Central Park in the Dark, Barber’s Violin Concerto and Elgar’s Symphony No. 1.… He was reading Edward Elgar and the Nostalgic Imagination. Francis doesn’t believe in dumbing down music, he said. He believes in giving context.… Francis arrives at a time of change for the nonprofit orchestra, which has announced departures of its chief operating officer and artistic operations director. Musicians’ contract negotiations are coming next year. After riding out tough times in past years, the orchestra has enjoyed increased financial footing and a successful fundraising campaign. Francis will be involved in the business side, he said.… ‘The previous models of how an orchestra works, particularly in America, were very successful for decades, but it’s changing. And I think orchestras now are becoming … very far-reaching in their understanding of the complexities of the modern world.’ ”

Posted October 22, 2014