François-Xavier was born in Paris in 1971 and is one of the most charismatic and versatile conductors today. As General Music Director of the City of Cologne, he has been head of both the Gürzenich-Orchester and Oper Köln since 2015. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and was the first artist ever to be appointed Associate Artist of the Philharmonie de Paris.
Highly esteemed for his inventive and unusual concert programmes, his distinctive approaches and powers of persuasion, François-Xavier Roth has been working with premier orchestras such as Staatskapelle Berlin, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich. In 2019/20, he will return to Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Orchestre de Paris, Montreal Symphony, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony, Münchner Philharmoniker and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, as well as performing twice with the Boulez Ensemble and giving his debut at Gewandhaus Leipzig.
In 2003, Roth founded the orchestra Les Siècles. Together, they have conceived programmes that are both innovative and rich in contrast, performed on modern as well as on historical instruments. François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles have played across Europe as well as China. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the world premiere of “Le Sacre du Printemps ”, Roth and Les Siècles endeavoured to trace Stravinsky’s original sound and presented it together with the dance companies of Pina Bausch and Dominique Brun in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tokyo. The orchestra was nominated for the 2019 Gramophone Orchestra of the Year Award.
This season, François-Xavier Roth’s concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra will include works by Béla Bartók, Luciano Berio, Igor Stravinsky and Edward Elgar as well as a new commissioned work by Sophya Polevaya. Together, they will perform concerts in Paris and Lyon. The third CD in the series “Panufnik Legacies” will also be released during this period.
In his fifth season at Oper Köln, François-Xavier Roth will conduct new productions of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and Hector Berlioz’ “Béatrice et Bénedict” as well as the revival of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s “Die Soldaten”. Together with the Gürzenich-Orchester, he will continue his Bruckner-cycle as well as his exploration of the works of Berlioz, and present new commissioned pieces by Bernhard Gander and Miroslav Srnika beside compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Philippe Rameau and … Rebel. On the occasion of the Beethoven- Year, the Gürzenich-Orchester’s concert format “The New Academy” will revive the atmosphere of Beethoven’s Vienna academy concerts and will combine intense Beethoven-moments with unusual contemporary stylistics. “The New Academy” will tour to London, Munich, Hamburg and Lyon.
François-Xavier Roth’s catalogue of recordings includes all symphonic poems by Richard Strauss, which he recorded during his tenure as Chief Conductor (2011-2016) with the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg, as well as recordings of Stravinsky’s three ballets with Les Siècles. (“Le Sacre du Printemps” received the annual “German Record Critics’ Award” and the “Edison Klassiek Award”). “Daphnis and Chloé”, which was the Gramophone Awards Orchestral Album of the Year 2018, and “Ma Mère l’Oye” were released as part of a complete Ravel-cycle for Harmonia Mundi. A recital featuring Sabine Devieilhe for Erato was selected as Recording of the Year 2018 at the Victoires de la Musique Classique. A further recording is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the death of Claude Debussy and features the composer’s “Jeux” and “Nocturnes”; another honours Berlioz on the 150th anniversary of his death with recordings of “Harold en Italie” and “Les nuits d’été”. In early 2019, Roth’s recording of Mahler’s Third Symphony with the Gürzenich-Orchester was released, following their recording of Mahler’s Fifth in 2017. Both works were premiered with the Gürzenich-Orchester. In August of this year, François-Xavier Roth’s debut concert as Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra was released on DVD under the title “The Young Debussy”.
Efforts towards reaching new listeners are an essential component of Roth’s work. Together with Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen, a unique orchestra academy with its own inventory of historical instruments. Furthermore, Roth and Les Siécles launched “Presto!”, a television series for France 2 that reaches more than three million viewers every week. Gürzenich-Orchester’s youth programme “Ohrenauf!” received a Junge Ohren Preis (Young Ears Award) in the category Production in early 2017.
As a tireless champion of contemporary music, François-Xavier Roth has been the conductor of the pioneering Panufnik Composers Programme of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2015. Furthermore, he conducted the world premiere performances of works by Yann Robin, Georg-Friedrich Haas, Hèctor Parra and Simon Steen-Anderson and worked with composers like Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann, Helmut Lachenmann and Philippe Manoury.
François-Xavier Roth was appointed Knight of the French Legion of Honour for his services as a musician, conductor, musical director and teacher.
As of November 2019