Acclaimed conductor, Robert Franz, recognized as “an outstanding musician with profound intelligence,” has held to three principles throughout his career: a commitment to the highest artistic standards, to creating alliances and building bridges in each community he serves, and a dedication to being a strong force in music education. As Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, and Artistic Director of the Boise Baroque Orchestra, he has achieved success through his focus on each of these principles.
2021 marks his debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and upcoming guest conducting engagements include Tulsa's Signature Symphony and returns to the Louisville Orchestra and the Austin Symphony. His appeal as a first-rate conductor and enthusiastic award-winning educator is acclaimed by critics, composers and audiences of all ages. Composer Bright Sheng praised Franz for his “extremely musical and passionate approach towards music making.” Franz is in increasing demand as a guest conductor, having collaborated with the Cleveland Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, North Carolina Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and Italy’s Orchestra da Camera Fiorentinas. His versatility has led to performances with a wide array of artists, including James Galway, Joshua Bell, Rachel Barton Pine, Chris Botti, Idina Menzel and Judy Collins as well as his work with composers such as John Harbison, Jennifer Higdon and Jordan Pal. An eloquent speaker, Franz recently presented a TEDx Talk entitled Active Listening and Our Perception of Time.
In his eighth season as Music Director with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Franz was recognized by The Windsor Endowment for the Arts with its Arts Leadership Award. Faced with the challenge of maintaining a vital arts presence in the face of a pandemic, highlights of the 2020/2021 season include two curated digital concert series that he led and hosted. Recent collaborations include the Windsor International Film Festival, Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor Public Library, Canadian Historical Aviation Association, and the University of Windsor.
Franz’ serves as Artistic Director of the Boise Baroque Orchestra where he curated and led two digital concert series during the 2020/2021 season. Under his leadership, the orchestra has collaborated with Grammy Winning tenor, Karim Sulayman and will undertake its first commercial recording project of Classical Oboe Concerti for Centaur Records featuring rising star oboist Bhavani Kotha.
This season Franz celebrates his 13th year as Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony where he was recently honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership to celebrate his immense success in advancing the organization’s education and community engagement activities. The 2020-2021 season featured Franz leading the North American premiere of Author Dan Brown’s musical children’s book, “Wild Symphony.”
As Co-founder and Conductor of the Idaho Orchestra Institute, now in its fifth year, Franz takes young musicians on an exploration of major orchestral repertoire that explores the complete musician.
In addition to his current posts, Franz served as Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic from 2008-2016, and the Mansfield Symphony (OH) from 2003-2010. When not on the podium he can be found on the slopes, skiing slowly and carefully, stretching in a yoga class, and non-competitively trying his hardest to win at a game of cards with his family.