Born in Paris in 1971, François-Xavier Roth was appointed General Music Director of the City of Cologne in 2015, leading both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the first-ever Associate Artist of the Philharmonie de Paris. In 2003, Mr. Roth founded Les Siècles, an innovative orchestra performing on modern and period instruments. With Les Siècles, he has given concerts throughout Europe and toured to China and Japan. Les Siècles was nominated for Gramophone Magazine’s first Orchestra of the Year Award.
This season, Mr. Roth makes a return appearance with the Berlin Philharmonic and leads the Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony. In his fourth Cologne opera season, he leads new productions of R. Strauss’s Salome and Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein. With the Gürzenich Orchestra, he leads works of Schumann and continues a focus on the composer Philippe Manoury, with the premiere of Lab.Oratorium, the third of the trilogy of works commissioned by the orchestra, which will also be played in Hamburg and Paris. He will take the orchestra on tour to Turin, Zurich, and Vienna, performing Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
Mr. Roth recorded the complete tone poems of Richard Strauss while principal conductor of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra. With Les Siècles, he is currently recording a complete Ravel cycle for the Harmonia Mundi label. Previous releases in the series include Daphnis and Chloé, winner of the Gramophone Orchestral Album of the Year 2018, and Ma mère l’Oye, winner of a Diapason d’Or in 2018 and nominated for a 2019 International Classical Music Award. His recording of The Rite of Spring with Les Siècles received a German Record Critics’ Prize. Mirages, a vocal recital with Sabine Devieilhe for Erato, received a Grammy nomination and won a Diapason d’Or. A new album commemorating Debussy’s centenary year, including Jeux and Nocturnes was released by Harmonia Mundi in November 2018. Mr. Roth’s first recording with the Gürzenich Orchestra of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony was released in December 2017.
Engagement with new audiences is an essential part of Mr. Roth’s work. With the Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, a unique orchestra-academy with its own collection of period instruments. Mr. Roth and Les Siècles also devised the French television series Presto!.
For his achievements as musician, conductor, music director, and teacher, François-Xavier Roth was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government last year. He makes his San Francisco Symphony debut at these performances.