Magazine

Francois-Xavier Roth takes up baton as LSO's principal guest conductor

Francois-Xavier Roth takes up baton as LSO's principal guest conductor

The London Symphony Orchestra has appointed Francois-Xavier Roth as its principal guest conductor.

Mr Roth, who became the LSO’s assistant conductor after winning the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in 2000, will take up the role from September.

The Paris-born conductor has dedicated himself to giving young and emerging composers a chance to break into the industry by being closely involved in the LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme since its launch in 2006, as well as music education and community programme LSO Discovery.

Francois-Xavier Roth
Francois-Xavier Roth has landed a prestigious role (Marco Borggreve)

In 2012, Mr Roth’s work with an orchestra of young people from East London through LSO Discovery was showcased at the London Olympics opening ceremony, where they performed Elgar’s Nimrod alongside members of the LSO.

Mr Roth said: “It is an immense honour and a deep joy for me to accept the LSO’s invitation to become their principal guest conductor from the start of next season.

“I have always had the greatest admiration for this orchestra.

“It is one of the great orchestras of the world and their incomparable energy for making music has been an extraordinary source of inspiration for me.

Francois-Xavier Roth
Mr Roth has been conducting with the orchestra for 17 years (Kevin Leighton)

“I am looking forward to the many musical adventures that we will take on together and excited by the dialogue already begun with the musicians themselves and, of course, with Sir Simon Rattle, alongside whom it is a great privilege to work with this fabulous ensemble.

“Seventeen years after having been their assistant conductor as a result of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition, and conducting each year since numerous concerts with them, it is a particular thrill to strike up this new phase with the marvellous LSO.”

Mr Roth also holds a prestigious role in Germany as general music director of the City of Cologne and from 2011 to 2016 was principal conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg and Baden-Baden.

Francois-Xavier Roth
Mr Roth is principal guest conductor at the LSO from September (Kevin Leighton)

In 2003, he founded innovative orchestra Les Siecles, whose unique approach to modern and period instrument performance has been seen at the BBC Proms, Royal Festival Hall and the Aldeburgh Music Festival. He also works with other international orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, Boston Symphony and Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands.

Mr Roth’s four-part series After Romanticism, which launched in 2016 and explores the change in music at the turn of the 20th century, continues on March 30 and April 23 at London’s Barbican.

In 2018 he will lead the LSO’s concerts marking the centenary of the death of Claude Debussy.

He takes over in his new role from Daniel Harding, who is stepping down after 10 years, and he will work alongside the orchestra’s other principal guest conductor, Gianandrea Noseda.