Birmingham graduate joins world-leading orchestra

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 04 MAY
Edward Francis-Smtih 1

A graduate from Birmingham City University’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has become the newest member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York under maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Double bassist Edward Francis-Smith was selected through a rigorous blind audition process that saw him beat off competition from hundreds of other applicants wishing to be part of the world-famous Metropolitan Opera.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham City University

Originally from Penzance, Edward began his studies aged 10 with his father, before becoming a pupil of Thomas Martin at the age of 12. He continued to study with Thomas as part of his bachelor’s degree at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Musical passion

Edward, aged 22 and known affectionately as Ted, said:

“Studying with Thomas Martin at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was the most formative period of my entire musical education. As well as giving me the technical foundations needed to perform on my instrument, Tom encouraged me to push myself and explore music as a whole.

“His passion for the double bass and music itself has been a huge inspiration for me in pushing myself to the achieve the most possible. I am happy and proud to attribute a large part of my successful audition for the Metropolitan Opera in New York to the time I spent studying with Tom.”

Edward has performed and toured with numerous British orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Edward Francis-Smith 2 Philharmonia Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared as Principal with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Welsh National Opera and Assistant Principal with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Edward was also a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra for four tours between 2013 and 2016.

Prolific performer

In September 2015 he performed at the International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove. The subsequent tour across South West England, featuring Dvořák’s String Quintet and Rossini’s Duo for Cello and Bass, attracted great critical acclaim.

Following his undergraduate studies in Birmingham, Edward gained a place at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 2016 under Harold Robinson and Edgar Meyer. He graduated with an Artist Diploma in May 2018.

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra

With more than 200 performances each season, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra is one of the world’s great performing ensembles, both on stage and in the opera pit. Since its founding in 1883, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra's performances have encompassed not only the entire opera repertoire, but symphonic and chamber programs at Carnegie Hall, international tours, and countless musician activities outside of the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

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