Maestro Justus Frantz – Conductor and Pianist
Prof. Justus Frantz was born in Poland in 1944, grew up in Germany and has been an internationally successful pianist and conductor for more than thirty years. In addition to his own renowned career he has served the classical world well by revealing and nurturing young talent.
Frantz started to play the piano at age 4, then continuing his studies with Prof. Hansen and Wilhelm Kempff. His extraordinary musical career began in 1967 when he won the ARD (German Radio) international music competition. When 23 years old, he was one of the youngest ever to receive a scholarship to the German National Academic Foundation. He rose to number among the very top international pianists in 1970 with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Hebert von Karajan. He celebrated his US debut five years later with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein,
who became his mentor and life-long friend. After this he played regularly with orchestras around the world such as the Great Moscow Symphony, the Durban Philharmonic, the Ural Philharmonic, the Chinese Philharmonic, the Philharmonic of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and others. In 1986, he founded the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Northern Germany and was its director for nine years, turning it into one of the world's greatest music festivals.
Since 1989, Justus Frantz has been a special ambassador for the UN High Commission for Refugees. It is also important to note that his family members were known as leaders in the resistance against the Nazi regime in Poland.
In 1995 he founded the Philharmonia of the Nations. With this orchestra he was realizing Bernstein's dream of an international, young and professional orchestra. It has served as a launching pad for the careers of many well-known musicians worldwide such as the violinists Midori, Maxim Vengerov, Jozsef Lendvay and Vadim Repin, pianist Evgeny Kissin and others.
Frantz is known for his performances of classical and romantic music, especially the works of Mozart. He has played much of the duet repertoire for four-hand piano in concerts with his good friend, the conductor and pianist Christoph Eschenbach.
From September 2013, Frantz takes up the position as Music Director of the Israel Sinfonietta Beer-Sheva, with which he has worked in the past as guest conductor and soloist. In addition he has met some of the Israeli concert-going public in other musical frameworks such as the Red Sea Festival in Eilat in 2011 and the Israel Opera's performance of "The Mariage of Figaro" at the Bet Shean Amphitheater. He is looking forward to many years of continuing this pleasant connection between water and music, musical directors, artists, professional music-making and the Israeli culturally-minded public.
A Word from the Musical Director...