Photo courtesy of Jeff Fitlow
In his sixth season as Associate Conductor of the Houston Symphony, Robert Franz has led the Symphony in a broad range of creative educational and family concerts. His concerts have reached over 72,000 audience members of all ages as he travels to various venues throughout the state of Texas.
When not in Houston, he is also the Music Director of the Boise Philharmonic, Music Director Designate of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada. Franz began his tenure as Music Director of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival Opera and Orchestra in 2012.
Under his direction, both the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (2008) and the Louisville Orchestra (2001) were awarded ASCAP’s Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming. The Louisville Orchestra’s award led to the creation of an education program for Kentucky Educational Television entitled, Creating Music and Stories. Winner of the 2008 BPO/ECMEA Music Educators Award for Excellence, Franz has created arts education programs for the Carolina Chamber Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, West End Chamber Ensemble and the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony, including that organization’s innovative Bolton Research Project. While at the Louisville Orchestra, he re-vitalized an ASCAP award-winning new music concert series, and served as co-host of In a Different Key, a weekly contemporary classical music radio program on WUOL.
A recognized leader in the arts, the Idaho Education Committee invited him to address the Idaho Legislature on the importance of music in education. Franz has also authored his first children’s book with a CD entitled, Stella’s Magical Musical Tour of America. It introduces children to classical music by incorporating various musical excerpts intertwined throughout the story of a girl’s journey in a hot air balloon.
In addition to his current posts, Franz served as the Music Director of the Mansfield Symphony in Ohio (2003-10), Resident Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic (2005-09) and Associate Conductor of the Louisville Orchestra (1997-06). He has also led the Winston-Salem Piedmont Triad Symphony, the Louisville Youth Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Youth Symphony. He continues to serve as Music Director Emeritus of the Carolina Chamber Symphony, an orchestra that he founded, and provides educational programming workshops at the National Repertory Orchestra during the summer.
Franz received his Master of Music degree in conducting from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1992 and his Bachelor of Music degree in oboe performance in 1990 from that same institution. He has participated in conducting workshops in the Czech Republic, St. Petersburg (Russia), Nashville, the Festival at Sandpoint and was a participant in the 1997 National Conductor Preview.