Robert Franz

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens Interview with Robert Franz
WSO Launches First-of-its-Kind International Conductors Workshop
Maestro Franz sticks with Windsor Symphony for another three years
The Boise Philharmonic’s Robert Franz finds a home in Boise
Franz Brings New Directions to the Windsor Symphony
Franz Named Music Director Designate of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra
Asheville, NC WLOS TV interview with Robert Franz (April 2010)
Maestro Robert Franz Named the 2010 Renaissance Person of the Year
Idaho Public Television interviews Robert Franz
WNED Interview, July 2009
Rob Lucas in the Morning, Radio Interview
Dancing With The Buffalo Stars
“Opening Night!” Podcast
BPO Receives National Award for Educational Programs Created by Robert Franz
New Director Says He’ll Lead Philharmonic to Next Level, The Idaho Statesman
Mansfield Symphony Concert Features Work by Local Artists
What the Critics are Saying
Composer & Soloist Quotes

Back in 1947 the Windsor Symphony Orchestra performanced on the Capitol stage and now, having returned as the full-time residents of the theatre, the WSO is celebrating their 70th season. In this Mayor’s Minute, the Mayor sits down with WSO music director Robert Franz. They talk about the exciting arts and culture hub that’s growing in downtown Windsor, why Robert thinks the symphony is like a hockey game, and so much more.
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WSO Maestro Robert Franz this week is leading a Conductors Guild Education Workshop, offering tips on how best to direct an orchestra—and how to present classical music to students.
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Windsor Symphony Orchestra music director Robert Franz will continue filling up the Capitol Theatre & Arts Centre with the sounds of everything from Bach to The Beatles.
The maestro will stay on with the WSO for another three years after fulfilling his original three-year contract, which began in 2013. Franz said he wants to stay in Windsor first and foremost because of the relationship he has built with the musicians.
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You wouldn’t think that an orchestra conductor and aeronautical engineers would have a connection. But the exploits and genius of Wilbur and Orville Wright are an endless well of inspiration for Boise Philharmonic Music Director Robert Franz.
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Robert Franz begins his new appointment as Music Director of the The Windsor Symphony Orchestra with three Pops concerts, Sept. 27, 28, and 29, at Windsor’s Capitol Theatre, the orchestra's new permanent home. On October 5, he will lead the orchestra in their first Masterworks concert of the 2013-14 season with a program that includes two orchestral works by Beethoven, including the Third Piano Concerto performed by Canadian soloist Lorraine Min.
Franz, who is dedicating to improving the artistic quality of the orchestra and making the orchestra a center piece of the Ontario community, plans to bring in more guest artists, soloists and guest conductors. He also has plans to reach out to the community starting this season with a special Intimate Classics program of music that relates to the Holocaust and is exploring ways to bump up the number of classics concerts, with programming into the summer.
For more information, click here.

On February 26, 2013, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Robert Franz as Music Director beginning July 1, 2013 following an extensive search led by a committee comprised of WSO musicians, staff, Guild, and Board members and community leaders. In making the announcement, the Orchestra cited “Franz’s vast artistic experience and versatility, in addition to his passion for outreach in the community and advocacy for arts education.”
For more information, click here.

WLOS TV 13 in Asheville, NC interviews Robert Franz during a recent engagement with the Asheville Lyric Opera. Robert discusses the importance of music education.

MANSFIELD, OHIO. The Renaissance Performing Arts Association announces that Mansfield Symphony Music Robert Franz was selected as the 2010 Renaissance Person of the Year. Dave Harmon, president of the Renaissance Board of Trustees, presented Franz with a special commemorative clock and a plaque, which will hang in the Renaissance Theatre, prior to the Mansfield Symphony performance of Symphonie Romantique on Saturday evening. Renaissance President and CEO Michael Miller spoke of the accomplishments Franz has made in the community through a recorded message as he was attending a conference at the Kennedy Center. Miller’s wife Deborah also presented Franz with a baton that had belonged to Leonard Bernstein.
The Renaissance Performing Arts Association proudly selected Robert Franz for this honor because of his love and abiding passion for music and his impressive talents, which have left the north central Ohio community deeply enriched. He has worked to showcase the talents of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, taking the incredible musicians to even greater heights and providing audiences with a world-class symphonic experience. For the past seven seasons, Robert has engaged and enthralled so many with his love of music, with his charm and elegant rapport with an audience, and with the excitement and expressiveness of his conducting. The Renaissance acknowledges and celebrates his dream, “Operation Bridge Building”. Robert Franz has helped the Renaissance create a path for the youth of our community that will allow them to appreciate and cherish symphonic music for years to come.

Joan Cartan-Hansen, host of Idaho Public Television’s state-wide public affairs program, Dialogue, interviews Robert in two programs. In the first, Joan talks with Robert about his nationally recognized efforts in arts education and the future of classical music and the arts in Idaho.
Watch   29 min.

In the second, Robert discusses how he became a conductor and what inspires him today.
Watch   8 min.

WNED interviews Robert as the BPO prepares to kick off the First Niagara Summerfest at Artpark in July 2009.

Robert Franz interviewed by Rob Lucas on STAR 102.5 radio about Dancing With The Buffalo Stars, February 14, 2009 at Kleinhans.

The first Boise Philharmonic podcast ever! This episode features performances from the first subscription concert of the 2008-09 season, including Gazebo Dances by John Corigliano and the Sixth Symphony of Antonín Dvořák. Also we hear an interview with new Music Director Robert Franz.
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As Resident Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic for the past three years, Robert Franz has created and presented a series of arts education programs designed to engage students, inspire them, and help them to stretch their minds and imaginations through music. This year, the BPO was honored to receive the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming from The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), as did the Louisville Orchestra in 2001, while Mr. Franz headed that orchestra’s educational programming. Earlier this season, Franz was named the winner of the 2008 BPO/ECMEA Music Educators Award for Excellence.
For more information, click here.

The Idaho Statesman
April 13, 2008, by Dana Oland
He’ll visit Boise this month to announce the next season and get to know the community.
At the end of Robert Franz’s interview with the Boise Philharmonic search committee in January, he asked them a show-stopping question. “Are you ready for me? When I come to a place, I give 110 percent, and it takes a team to make it happen,” he said. “Yes, we’re ready to go,” recalled Stephen Trott, a federal judge who headed the committee made up of board members and musicians. “He really put us on our toes.”
So get ready, because last week the Philharmonic hired Franz as its next music director, filling the position left by James Ogle, who conducted his farewell concert this weekend. Ogle suffered a stroke in November 2005 and resigned as music director in May 2006.
Franz’s interview question was bold, but, “What did I have to lose?” he said. “What were they going to say, that they didn’t want to work that hard? We were all so excited, and I really wanted this job. I wanted to know if they were ready for the work it will take to move this orchestra to the next level.” Franz spoke from his home in Buffalo, N.Y., where he is resident conductor with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. He came to Boise in the second season of the two-year search, one of 11 candidates who guest-conducted the orchestra, worked with soloists and interviewed with the search committee. He quickly became everyone’s first choice, Trott said. Franz met and surpassed each requirement on the committee’s dream conductor list. “If anyone can do this, Robert can. He is easy to work with, and he is a part-of-the-solution person.” For Franz, who turned 40 last month, his time in Boise left him thrilled, he said. He conducted the January 2008 program. “The orchestra and I had so much fun. When I saw how far we went in one week, I was so excited. There is so much talent in that orchestra. My job is to focus and unleash it. There is so much potential, I can’t wait to see where that takes us.”
The musicians are equally excited about Franz’s arrival, said violinist Jill Rowley, the orchestra’s associate concertmaster.
“He knows how to place high expectations and ask a lot of us, but in a way that is always positive and encourages us to want to reach our highest level,” Rowley said. “He is ultimately energetic and upbeat about everything he does, and he can be exacting, which is what we want.”
Just a few days after learning he had the position, Franz already had homed in on key areas: education, community partnership and repertoire. His goal is to approach the orchestra as a holistic entity. He wants to see pieces that have operated separately in the past, such as the music ensembles and the foundation board, work closely together, even on repertoire, which Franz wants to expand to consistently include new works. “If we make an effort in one realm, we need to universalize it,” Franz said.
One possibility for next season is to bring composer Shulamit Ran to Boise and perform “Vessels of Courage and Hope”, a piece written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Israel. While she is here, Franz would like to build educational programs around her, as well as perform one of her chamber pieces with the orchestra’s ensemble groups. “I mean, how exciting would that be? There is just huge possibility,” he said.
Franz also wants to deepen the Philharmonic’s commitment to music education and to development programs that involve the classroom as well as the music room. “How about comparing being a writer to being a composer? You can talk about character, story development and conflict resolution,” he said. It’s a project he has worked on successfully in other cities. “My goal is to show that classical music has a place in our lives every day.”
Franz will be in Boise April 24-26 to announce the complete 2008-09 season and go on a “listening tour”, Franz said, as a way to explore building community partnerships with arts groups and other organizations. The music director’s job will be set up differently from how it has worked in the past, said Anthony Boatman, the Philharmonic’s executive director. Initially, Franz will not live in the Valley. He maintains a home in Buffalo, where he will keep his position with the orchestra. He also will be spending time in Houston, where he will start as the associate conductor in June. Both of those orchestras have summer seasons. The Boise Philharmonic’s concert season is in the fall and winter.
“I did something the other day that just tickled me,” Franz said. “I used pins and strings on a U.S. map to track my commute, and it makes this huge triangle on the map. Each place (Buffalo, Houston and Boise) has a different sort of vibe. Boise is beautiful. I get a real feeling of positive energy and we-can-do-it-ness there. It is a successful city, and you can feel it in the air.” Franz will spend 12 weeks here next season. The length of time may increase in the future depending on the orchestra’s schedule and needs, he said.

Rehearsal with Louisville Youth Orchestra
John Donnelly paints while Robert reherses the Mansfield Symphony in Michael Torke’s “Ash“.
MANSFIELD, OHIO. The Mansfield Symphony’s Art Live! concert this Saturday will feature artwork by two talented local artists, Mindy Duncan and John Donnelly. Each artist will paint a canvas inspired by Michael Torke’s Ash during the symphony’s rehearsal for Art Live! on Thursday evening. DRM Productions will document the development of each canvas on film, which will be screened during the actual concert on Saturday, May 17th at 8pm in the Renaissance Theatre. These original pieces will be auctioned off to the highest bidder by Whatman Realtors and Auctioneers following the concert. Proceeds from the auction will benefit both the Mansfield Art Center and The Renaissance. Other works by Mindy Duncan and John Donnelly will be on display in the theatre and available for purchase.
Mindy Duncan is an art educator at Mansfield Senior High School and John Donnelly is Professor of Art at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Both artists have had numerous art exhibitions and awards to their credit and their artwork has been shown throughout the United States. The Renaissance is honored to have the talents of Mindy and John showcased at the Art Live! concert.
Music Director Robert Franz will also lead the Mansfield Symphony and Chorus, soloists Andrea Chenoweth, Lori Turner, Gerald Gray and Dalton Derr, and vocal ensemble Cappricio! as they perform the extraordinary Mass in B Flat Major (“Maria Theresa Mass”) by Haydn. The Mansfield Symphony and members of the Mansfield Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
Tickets for this unique concert are $32.50, $22.50 and $12.50 and are on sale at the Renaissance Box Office, 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, by calling 419-522-2726 and online at   The Renaissance $10 ticket offer applies to this concert. $10 tickets (seats in the back row of the balcony) may be purchased beginning two hours before the performance, in person, at the Renaissance Box Office. There is a four ticket limit per person for $10 tickets.
Art Live! is presented by the Renaissance Performing Arts Association, sponsored by A Donor Advised Fund of the Richland County Foundation, and made possible with support from the Ohio Arts Council.

W H A T   T H E   C R I T I C S   S A Y

“Franz coaxed brilliant playing from the RSO, which has rarely sounded better.”
—Reading Eagle

“Friday’s audience was fortunate beyond belief to have heard the definitive performance of the Bruch Concerto No. 1 (Joshua Bell), which was superbly partnered by conductor Robert Franz and the BPO.”
—Buffalo News

“The orchestra has seldom played with such rapt attention to its collective tasks. Franz conducted the entire affair with masterly pace, emphasis and technical control. The final minute was among the most viscerally thrilling indulgences I’ve heard in Whitney Hall.”
—The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

“Franz’ assured musicality gave his readings a vitality that made the evening a fine musical adventure.”
—Spokesman Review

“The music (Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance) crackles, communicating the essence of the Greek tragedy with terse power. So too did Franz’s reading, which matched the composer’s own remarkable intensity.”
—The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

“Franz and company closed with a reading of the Schubert Symphony No. 5. Tempos pressed forward in a way that with this nimble band, felt blithe and refreshing.”
—The Charlotte Observer

“The Carolina Chamber Symphony fills a void in Winston-Salem’s concert life. Especially since the group is filled with such able, energetic players and is led by so efficient and intelligent a conductor.”
—The Winston-Salem Journal

C O M P O S E R   &   S O L O I S T   Q U O T E S

“Robert Franz is a JOY to work with! He’s extremely competent. He takes matters like preparation, musical rehearsals and performances very seriously without being oppressive. He is all at once smart, fun, careful, relaxed, but demanding of his musicians. I love working with him!”
—Sylvia McNair

“I must say that I was deeply impressed with [Robert’s] work, not only by his solid rehearsal techniques and fine-tuned ears, but also by his extremely musical and passionate approach toward music making.”
—Bright Sheng

“Thank you for your excellently prepared and insightful performance of my Third Symphony last week.”
—John Harbison

“I was very positively impressed with Mr. Franz’s commitment to communicating and educating audiences of all ages, and with his love of contemporary music... His fine conducting and the enthusiasm he conveys are certain to make a substantial difference in the musical life of any community in which he works.”
—Aaron Jay Kernis

“His genuine musical gifts, intelligence, and down-to-earth approach to reaching audiences of all ages make him certainly of the most talented conductors of his generation.”
—Michael Daugherty

“It is truly exciting to come across someone with your sense of vision. I think your educational initiatives with the New Dimensions series and its numerous ancillary activities are turning Louisville into a stellar example of the role an orchestra can play in engaging a community in truly meaningful ways.”
—Shulamit Ran

“He has a natural and highly developed ability to present the widest range of orchestral repertoire with integrity and insight. Musicians respond to his artistic command and personal style on the podium with respect and loyalty.”
—Russell Peck