François-Xavier Roth and the Gürzenich Orchestra (detail) View full image

If he hasn’t already got the nickname Special FX, then Roth should adopt it … empathetic musicality and flair for colour, sometimes conjuring up such startling touches that the players look stunned.

Neil Fisher, The Times

Like the difference between a sparkling fruity champagne and an old, long stored red wine … a seductive bouquet of strong, warm and velvety nature smells, noble woody notes and dark, full colours.

Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Ravel: Daphnis & Chloé CD

Reviews of François-Xavier Roth’s regularly praised recordings in our pages all hint at one thing: there’s never anything routine about his approach, the sound or the vision.

Martin Cullingford, The Gramophone

François-Xavier Roth is one of today's most charismatic and enterprising conductors. With a reputation for enterprising programming, his incisive approach and inspiring leadership are valued around the world. He is working with leading orchestras including the London Symphony, of which h is Principal Guest Conductor, Berlin Philharmonic and Staatskapelle, Royal Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Cleveland and Zurich Tonhalle.

In Cologne, where he has directed both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera since 2015, his programming is notable for its breadth and depth, including new commissions alongside Baroque and Romantic music. Roth upholds the orchestra’s pioneering heritage, which includes having given the world premieres of Mahler’s Third and Fifth Symphonies, the Brahms Double Concerto, Strauss’s Don Quixote and Till Eulenspiegel, and Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. For Cologne Opera he has led new productions of Benvenuto Cellini, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Soldaten, Salome and Faust. In 2021-22, he will lead new productions of Béatrice et Bénédict and Hänsel & Gretel and a new semi-staging of Die Soldaten with Calixto Bieito.

A tireless champion of contemporary music, Roth is conductor of the ground-breaking LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme. He has premiered works by Yann Robin, Georg-Friedrich Haas and Simon Steen-Anderson and collaborated with composers like Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Helmut Lachenmann.

His prolific discography includes the complete tone poems of Richard Strauss, Stravinsky ballets, Ravel and Berlioz cycles, Bruckner, Mahler and Schumann symphonies, and albums commemorating Debussy’s centenary. He was awarded the German Record Critics’ Honorary Prize 2020, the youngest conductor ever to receive it.


  • Gürzenich-Kapellmeister und Generalmusikdirektor der Stadt Köln
  • Artistic Director, Les Siècles
  • Principal Guest Conductor, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Artistic Director, l’Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing


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