University of North Carolina School of the Arts Appoints Symphony Orchestra Music Director
Conductor and alumnus Robert Franz will step into the role beginning with the 2023-24 academic year
In recent years, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts' (UNCSA) Symphony Orchestra has been conducted by a variety of invited guest conductors and faculty members.
Recently, Dean Saxton Rose announced that Robert Franz will become Music Director. The role includes setting the artistic vision for the orchestral program at UNCSA, selecting the programming and guest artists for UNCSA Symphony Orchestra concerts, and working directly with students and faculty on artistic matters.
Franz will conduct three to four concerts with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra each season, working with the student ensemble for three weeks in advance of each concert. He will guide and mentor students in the orchestra as well as assist in the training of student conductors.
Franz is familiar with UNCSA, receiving his Master of Music in conducting in ’92 and his Bachelor of Music in oboe performance in ’90.
Currently music director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra (WSO) in Canada, artistic director of the Boise Baroque Orchestra (BBO) in Idaho, and resident guest conductor of the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra, Franz recently concluded a 14-year tenure as associate conductor of the Houston Symphony, where he was honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership.
As a guest conductor, he has worked with the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and Italy’s Orchestra da Camera Fiorentinas.
As co-founder and conductor of the Idaho Orchestra Institute, now in its seventh year, Franz takes young musicians on an exploration of major orchestral repertoire.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to my alma mater in this new role,” said Franz. “UNCSA is a very special place for me and the thousands of music students who have come through the program. I’m honored to be a part of its storied history.”
“I could not be more pleased that Robert Franz will assume the role of music director for our orchestra,” said Dean Rose. “The opportunity for our students to work on a consistent basis with a professional conductor who is particularly adept at educating is invaluable. Robert is not only an alum of the school; he is familiar with our students and orchestra through his role as resident guest conductor this past year. Our students have great admiration for Robert and are incredibly excited about this news. I look forward to seeing all that he does to take our orchestral playing to the next level.”
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