Francis has a longstanding relationship with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir. He has been our accompanist since 2005 and has played under three different musical directors. We greatly appreciate his high standard of musicianship, sensitivity as an accompanist, calm manner and total reliability.
Francis was born in Merthyr Tydfil in 1960 and started piano lessons at the age of six. Three years later, he won first prize in the Under-14 National Piano Competition. He then entered Chetham's School of Music, studying piano with Fanny Waterman and Ryszard Bakst. Whilst there, he gave many solo recitals and performed a number of concertos, including Beethoven's 3rd with the Hallé Orchestra. He gained the LRAM performer's diploma at the age of sixteen, while still a pupil at Chetham’s, and entered the Royal Northern College of Music two years later. At College, he continued to perform extensively as a soloist as well as a chamber musician, visiting Prague and the Channel Islands, and graduated in professional performance.
In 1982, he won major prizes in the Alessandro Casagrande competition in Terni and in the Claude Debussy competition in Paris. He moved to London in 1983, where he benefitted from the professional advice of Murray Perahia and Charles Rosen, and continued to perform and to teach both in the U.K and abroad, visiting Switzerland, Spain, Sweden and the U.S.A. He has also broadcast on Italian television, French radio and the BBC.
Since his move to East Sussex in 1996, Francis has performed as soloist in works such as Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto. He is well known as a performer in Hastings, frequently appearing in HPO (previously Hastings Philharmonic) chamber concerts. In addition to his work with the Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Francis has been associated with musical organizations such as Enfield Choral Society, Opera South East, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Counterpoint Arts. He has also been associated with the prestigious Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition since 2011. In 2017 he became a member of the London Piano Trio.
When not involved in his many musical activities, Francis engages with his other great enthusiasm, chess. He has won the Hastings and St Leonards Club Championship on numerous occasions and has represented Wales in international competitions.
To listen to some of Francis's solo playing, click here.