Tulsa's Signature Symphony has announced that music director Andrés Franco will step down at the end of their upcoming 2019-20 season. The orchestra, which is affiliated with Tulsa Community College, expects to launch a search for a new music director quickly, with candidates leading concerts as early as the 2020-21 season.
A native of Colombia, Franco has led the Signature Symphony since 2015, after taking over from founding music director Barry Epperly. Concurrently, he serves as associate conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where his wife, Victoria Luperi, is associate principal clarinetist. In May, the Pittsburgh Symphony promoted Franco to resident conductor and extended his contract through the 2021-22 season. He is expected to return to the Signature Symphony in future seasons as a guest conductor.
In a press release, Franco said "I am very proud of the results we have achieved during my tenure, especially the incredible artistic growth, our interaction with the Tulsa community at large, and our increased visibility at the national level. I look forward to continuing our artistic partnership during the 2019-2020 season and beyond."
TCC Dean of Visual & Performing Arts Kelly Clark added "I could not be happier for Andrés as this is a very exciting step in his career and we have been fortunate to have this rising star working with our orchestra for five wonderful years."
Under Franco’s leadership, the Signature Symphony inaugurated the Tulsa Sings! talent competition and the Mahler Project, which presented a work by Gustav Mahler in each season. Franco also began offering special interactive introductions to selected masterworks in a series he called "Connecting the Dots: Bringing the Score to Life." These initiatives will continue in the Signature Symphony's 2019-20 season, which marks Franco's fifth anniversary with the orchestra.