Olivia Rose Francis is a first violinist in the Badische Staatskapelle in Karlsruhe, Germany, and a Master of Arts student in the class of Nora Chastain at the Zürich University of the Arts in Switzerland.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Olivia began piano lessons aged four and violin at seven. Olivia studied with Dimitri Atanassov at the University of Auckland on a full scholarship and the Royal College of Music in London as a scholarship student of Berent Korfker. In addition she has received musical influences from such artists as Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Pinchas Zukerman, Ida Kavafian, Cho-Liang Lin, Krzysztof Wegrzyn, Gilles Apap, Pavel Vernikov, and the Chilingirian and the Kronos Quartet.
A passionate chamber musician, Olivia was a member of the Clara Quartet (Royal College of Music) and Rothko Quartet (University of Auckland). With the Clara Quartet she performed at venues including Cadogan Hall, Southwark Cathedral and the Southbank Centre, and recorded at Abbey Road Studios. As winners of the 2012 Pettman/ROSL ARTS International Scholarship the Rothko Quartet toured England, Scotland, Malta, Germany, France and Luxembourg.
As a soloist Olivia has appeared with orchestras around New Zealand and is a past prizewinner of the PACANZ National Young Performer of the Year and the Gisborne International Music Competition.
She is particularly enthusiastic about orchestral playing, and in addition to touring as a guest player with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra she was concertmaster of the NZSO National Youth, Auckland Youth, University of Auckland, RCM Philharmonic and Zürich University of the Arts Orchestras. She also performed at the Royal Festival Hall and Buckingham Palace. Most recently Olivia was selected for the 2016 Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra Academy, and since 2017 is a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra where she had the honour to perform under the direction of Maestros. Charles Dutoit, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mikhail Pletnev, Daniel Harding, and Antonio Pappano.
During the current season Olivia has performed in Wagner’s Ring cycle in the Badisches Staatstheater, among many other operas and ballets. She currently also performs in the Opernhaus Zürich’s production of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino under the direction of Fabio Luisi, with the guidance of her mentor, concertmaster Ada Pesch.
Next season Olivia will take up a position as Academist of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra. She plays a violin made in 2017 by Paul Belin.
Olivia is very grateful to have received the generous support of several awards and foundations towards her studies in both New Zealand and Europe. These include the Anne Reid Memorial Trust, AMP, New Zealand Society UK, FAME Trust, the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, and the Patricia Pratt Scholarship. In particular, Olivia is grateful to the Anne Reid Memorial Trust, without which her studies in London may not have been possible. Olivia writes:
“Receiving the Anne Reid Memorial Trust Scholarship in 2014 was a huge surprise and excitement for me. I received the news only a few months before I was due to start studying at the Royal College of Music, and it meant that I would definitely be able to go. The RCM is a wonderful school, but it is expensive, and towards the end of my first year I realised it would be difficult to raise the funds to continue. It was therefore an overwhelming relief when the Anne Reid Memorial Trust decided to support me for a second year, enabling me to complete my studies and graduate with First Class Honours. I had an inspiring, unforgettable time in London, full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and eye-opening learning experiences. The ARMT made all of this possible, for which I will always be grateful.”