François-Xavier Roth - General Music Director of the City of Cologne
»A restlessly intelligent maverick«
»Under Roth's needle-sharp direction these interpretations dazzle (…) with rhythmic verve, insouciant accentuation, energy, humour and elan. Virtuosity and verve shine from every bar.«
Richard Morrison, The Times
François-Xavier Roth (born Paris, 1971), is one of the most charismatic and enterprising conductors of his generation. His repertoire ranges from music of the seventeenth century to contemporary work encompassing all genres: symphonic, operatic and chamber.
In 2003, he founded Les Siècles, an innovative orchestra performing contrasting and colourful programmes on modern and period instruments, often within the same concert. From 2011-2016 François-Xavier Roth led the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg & Baden-Baden as Principal Conductor; since September 2015 he is General Music Director of the City of Cologne, leading both the Gürzenich-Orchestra and the Opera. He will take up the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2017-18 season.
With a reputation for inventive programming, his incisive approach and inspiring leadership are valued around the world. He is working with leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic and Staatskapelle, Royal Concertgebouw and Boston Symphony Orchestra. François-Xavier Roth’s second Cologne opera season features a Ravel double bill of L’enfant et les sortilèges / L’heure espagnole, a revival and tour of Berlioz’ Benvenuto Cellini and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. His opera repertoire includes furthermore Offenbach’s Les Brigands and Delibes’ Lakmé at the Opéra Comique in Paris and Morton Feldman’s Neither at the Berlin Staatsoper.
His numerous recordings amongst other with Les siècles (with whom he was awarded a German Record Critics’ Prize in 2016 for their recording of The Rite of Spring), the London Symphony Orchestra and the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg & Baden-Baden are widely acclaimed. With the Gürzenich Orchestra, he continues a focus on the composer Philippe Manoury, from whom the orchestra has commissioned a trilogy of works, and lead a tour of Asia in February 2017.
Outreach projects, like last season’s project “Planeten” with young dancers and the orchestra of the Rheinische Musikschule or the project “CityLife” with artists of the Cologne electronic label Kompakt, are an important aspect of François-Xavier Roth’s work. He is conductor of the ground-breaking LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme and, with the Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, an orchestra-academy with its own collection of period instruments. Roth and Les Siècles devised Presto!, their own television series for France 2, attracting weekly audiences of over three million. The Gürzenich Orchestra’s “ohrenauf!” education programme recently received the Junge Ohren Award.