François Koh is the Music Director of the Georgian Bay Symphony in Owen Sound where he gives a series of five symphony concerts each season. Since his engagement as Music Director in 2015, the Georgian Bay Symphony won the Vida Peene Orchestra Award 2017 from the Ontario Art Council for its artistic excellence and strong community relationships. Furthermore the orchestra received the Owen Sound Cultural Award, "Outstanding Group" from the City of Owen Sound in February 2018.
Mr. Koh earned his DMA degree in Orchestral Conducting on full-scholarship at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Maestro Uri Mayer. He is also covering rehearsals of the University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra and participating concerts as guest conductor.
Mr. Koh is also interested in promoting contemporary music. He conducted “Aftermath,” a contemporary orchestral piece by a Montreal-based composer, Justin Mariner for his first conducting recital at McGill. Mr. Koh participated in various contemporary concerts by conducting new music such as “Deed”(North American première), a chamber piece by the Swedish composer Frederik Gran and Catalan composer Enric Riu's “Face 3”(world première).
In 2013, he participated in the international music conference “Time Forms” in Montreal by performing George Lewis’ chamber music piece “Mnemosis” with the Ensemble Paramirabo. (Canadian première.)
His interest in promoting contemporary music led him to perform Canadian composers’ works. He has conducted many Canadian contemporary works including Elizabeth Raum's Violin Concerto, Malcolm Forsyth's Jubilee Overture, Godfrey Ridout's Fall fair, Richard Mascall's Nipissing and Abigail Richardson-Schulte’s Hockey Sweater for Orchestra with the author Roch Carrier's narration.
He has also collaborated with various Canadian Soloists such as Jeremy Bell, Kyoko Hashimoto, Bethany Horst, Melody Thomas, Julie Nesrallah and Erika Raum.
Before becoming Music Director of the Georgian Bay Symphony,
Mr. Koh had a number of experiences as founder of orchestras, assistant conductor and teaching assistant in Korea, France, and Canada.
He first studied conducting at Conservatoire Nationale de Dijon in France where he received a CFEM (Certificat de fin d’etudes Musicales) and DEM (Diplome d’etudes musicales) in orchestral conducting. After his studies at the Conservatory, he founded “Ensemble Orchestral de Dijon”, a chamber orchestra, giving many concerts in Burgundy region.
His study took him to Montreal where he completed a master’s degree in orchestral conducting in the class of Maestro Alexis Hauser at McGill University.
While at McGill, he took on a variety of conducting and coaching responsibilities. He has served as the assistant conductor of the McGill Symphony Orchestra, Opera McGill, and McGill Wind Symphony. His vocal coaching experiences as a choir director led him to coach the McGill University Choir as well. His participation at CIRMMIT’s various sound recording experiments as a conductor enabled him to discover another music field.
In 2014, he worked as assistant conductor of the Kawartha Youth Orchestra and the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra by winning the "RBC Emerging Artists Project” Apprentice Conductor Internship 2014. He won a travel grant award from the Canada Council for the arts which enabled him to participate in an international orchestral conducting in Targu-Mures, Romania.
Mr. Koh has been influenced by a number of teachers and conductors from around the world. His former professors include Jean Sebastian Bereau, Pierre Cao, Frank Klassen, Konrad von Abel, Morihiro Okabe, Johannes Schlaefli, and David Briskin.
Mr. Koh's future engagements include five International competition-winner, pianist Ilya Poletaev playing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no.3 in March 2018, and the Concert Master of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Jonathan Crow, who will perform Violin Concerto in d minor by Sibelius with the Georgian Bay Symphony in May 2019.