François-Xavier Roth

Orchestras are mirrors of societies, we make music a little like we live.

Having worked with many prestigious orchestras, François-Xavier Roth conducts, with an inspiring virtuosity, baroque pieces and contemporary creations. A portrait of one of the most inventive conductors of his generation.

Updated on 06/05/2019

2 min

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1971, François-Xavier Roth, son of organist Daniel Roth, enrolled at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Paris in 1999, where he studied music alongside Alain Marion and János Fürst. He was not yet 30 years old when he won 1st Prize in the Donatella Flick International Orchestra Conducting Competition in 2000, before perfecting his skills as assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

In 2015, the French conductor was appointed Generalmusikdirektor in Cologne and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 2017.

A teacher at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Paris, where he himself trained, the conductor also works to promote classical music to the general public with "Presto", a programme broadcast on France Télévisions.

Through an oeuvre including many recordings, François-Xavier Roth explores a variety of genres, ranging from lyrical and symphonic pieces to chamber music, from the baroque period to the contemporary creations of Brian Ferneyhough and Philippe Maunoury, including the symphonic poems of German composer Richard Strauss.

Acclaimed by critics, in 2013 his orchestra, Les Siècles, obtained exclusive permission from Boosey & Hawkes, which owns the rights of Stravinsky's work, to perform the Russian composer’s Rite of Spring with instruments from 1913, on the occasion of the work’s centenary.

Since his beginnings in the 2000s as assistant to famous British conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, then as conductor, from 2010 to 2016, of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg & Baden-Baden, François-Xavier Roth has continued to engage in many international collaborations: from the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, including the London Symphony Orchestra, of which he has been the Principal Guest Director since the 2017-2018 season.

During these prestigious collaborations, the French conductor has performed across the world. In 2017, he toured Asia as head of the Cologne Gürzenich orchestra.

  • 2000


    In London, François-Xavier Roth receives the First Prize in the Donatella Flick International Orchestra Conducting Competition.

  • 2003


    He creates Les Siècles, a unique orchestra in France that aims to perform various repertoires with period instruments.

  • 2007


    François-Xavier Roth conducts for the first time in North America, with the prestigious London Symphony Orchestra.

  • 2010


    François-Xavier Roth is appointed musical director of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Freiburg & Baden-Baden, which he will conduct many tiems until 2016.

  • 2015


    He becomes Generalmusikdirektor of the city of Cologne, thus ensuring the artistic direction of the Gürzenich Opera and Orchestra.

  • 2017


    The French conductor is made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur for his contributions as a musician and teacher.

The Institut français and the conductor

François-Xavier Roth toured internationally in 2018, with the support of the Institut français.

L'institut français, LAB