Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Franz is a leader in a vibrant arts community. The partnerships he has developed and fostered throughout the community as well as his versatility in programming led to being recognized by The Windsor Endowment for the Arts with its Arts Leadership Award. Faced with the challenge of maintaining an active and successful arts organization in the face of a pandemic, the past two seasons have included two curated digital concert series that he led and hosted. Both series include his trademark music introductions, interviews with guest artists and composers, and a celebration of multiple works by composers of under-represented populations. Recent collaborations include the Windsor International Film Festival, Art Windsor Essex, Canadian Historical Aviation Association, Windsor Public Library, St, Clair College and the University of Windsor. In 2017 he led the first bi-annual Conductor’s Guild Workshop with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra to train conductors in the art of creating and presenting effective student concerts. Through his work the WSO has become a catalyst for a wide variety of artists in multiple genres and disciplines.
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.
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. 2021 marks his debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. 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.
Music Director the Windsor Symphony Orchestra since 2013, Franz was recognized by The Windsor Endowment for the Arts with its Arts Leadership Award. Faced with the challenge of maintaining an active and successful arts organization in the face of a pandemic, the past two seasons have included 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 successfully launched an outdoor summer concert series at the Chateau des Fleurs in Eagle, Idaho. Curated digital concert series, partnerships with Opera Idaho and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale as well as with various educational institutions have been a hallmark of his time at BBO.
Franz just concluded his fourteen-year tenure as Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony where he was recently honored with the Raphael Fliegel Award for Visionary Leadership, celebrating 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 sixth 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.