Spanish-American conductor François López-Ferrer serves as resident conductor of the Académie of the Opéra de Paris. Former associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival, and a 2021-22 Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, López-Ferrer stepped in for Louis Langrée with the CSO in January 2022 for the U.S. premiere of Mark Simpson’s Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti to great critical acclaim.
This fall, he makes his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a CSO for Kids program Nov. 4. In recent seasons, he made debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orquesta Nacional de España, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Opéra de Lausanne, Orquesta de Valencia, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Orquesta Sinfónica Radio Televisión Española, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic and Pasadena Symphony. He also was featured in the 2022 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview with Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. He previously served as associate conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Chile and principal conductor of the Ballet Nacional Chileno.
An inaugural apprentice of the Verbier Festival’s 2018 Conductor Mentorship Program, López-Ferrer made a last-minute, acclaimed debut with the Verbier Festival Orchestra, stepping in for Iván Fischer in a shared program with Sir Simon Rattle and Gábor Takács-Nagy. López-Ferrer received a Career Assistance Award from the Solti Foundation U.S., won the inaugural 2015 Neeme Järvi Prize at the Menuhin-Gstaad Festival and a was previous member of the Deutsche Dirigentenforum.
López-Ferrer holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Haute École de Musique de Lausanne and a bachelor’s in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. As a composer, López-Ferrer has participated in master classes with Leonardo Balada, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski and Jack Body.
The son of Jesús López Cobos, music director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1986 to 2001 and music director emeritus until his death in 2018, López-Ferrer grew up in Cincinnati, attended the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and maintains ties to that community.
His father supported his podium ambitions. “He just wanted, as any father wants for a child, that they can support themselves in the future and have a nice, decent life,” he said in an interview with Cincinnati magazine. “It is a very difficult life as a conductor. It’s difficult to make the career and then sustain it. Also, the role of the conductor is being the responsible one, artistically, emotionally and humanly for the people around you. That’s something his passing [in 2018] forced me to do.”
He still feels his father's presence. “Walking onstage, I feel almost like a ghost comes over me. I can feel his calming presence, that he’s looking kind of from the back of the stage toward the podium and guiding me along.”