Boise State Visit

Crescendo…one giant crescendo. That is the only way to describe the last movement of Respighi’s Pines of Rome.   I had such a blast working with the talented musicians of the Boise State University Symphony Orchestra as they prepare for a performance of Pines. It has been over a decade since I last conducted the piece, and I just love how magical the sound of the army returning home to Rome is. I also love how open and receptive the music students of BSU are. Conducting there made me excited about the prospect of a full symphony orchestra at IOI in the years to come!

Robert Franz

College of Idaho Visit

What do the following people, Jim Cockey, David Alan Earnest, and Tom Tompkins, have in common?

They are all amazing composers, and all live right here in Idaho! I had the opportunity the other night to spend a couple of hours with the College of Idaho Sinfonia who are preparing for a concert of their music. This mix of talented college students and music teachers from the area was so much fun to work with. Their openness and willingness to open new doors and explore new perceptions of music was inspiring. I also loved how they were willing to get down right into the smallest detail of the music in the service of the composers intention. Sam Smith has created the perfect atmosphere for these talented musicians to explore these terrific works.



“It was an honor”

Our artistic director, Robert Franz, is known all around North America as a talented conductor, educator and leader.  What sets Robert apart is his ability to make connections with musicians on and off the podium. Here’s a recent letter from a student who participated in the Kentucky All State Orchestra

Dear Mr.Franz,

My name is Kendra. I played under you in Kentucky All-State a couple of weeks ago. I just wanted to tell you what and amazing time I had playing music with you. It was one of the best musical experiences I have ever had. You helped me see music in a different way and also helped me remember why I started playing in the first place. Before All-State I questioned why I was even playing anymore because I never thought I was good enough. When you talked about all of your trial and errors you had trying to get a conducting job, it let me know that you have to keep trying. You probably don’t even know who I am. I was in the back of the viola section last chair to be exact. Most times being last would’ve upset me and at first it did but you made me forget about that and just make music instead of worrying about a seat. It was an honor playing under you. Thank you for staying around to shake my hand it meant a lot to me. I hope to be as humble as you in the future and someday lucky enough to play under you again



Fostering connection is a top priority at Idaho Orchestra Institute.  Sign up today!

Centennial and Caldwell visits

Today was quite the day! I had so much fun working with young musicians at Centennial and Caldwell High Schools!

The students at Centennial did such a great job with Janacek and “Drifen.” It astounds me how alert they are at 6:15am! After some incredible music making I drove through quite the snow storm to get to Caldwell.

Did you know that there are 3 Caldwell High Schools listed in Caldwell, ID on mapquest? I visited all three today. Turns out the 3rd address I tried was the correct one!

The students at Caldwell really dug into their work on the Capriccio Espagnol. Not an easy piece, these students attacked it with drive and enthusiasm.

We are truly lucky to have so many great orchestra programs in the Treasure Valley! – RF

Timberline & Boise High visits

By Robert Franz

What a blast I had today visiting and working with the talented students at Timberline. The fact that you start rehearsal every morning at 645am is awe-inspiring! The fact that you can play Bach and Tchaikovsky so beautifully at that hour is just ridiculous. 🙂
And Boise High School with your 71 incredible musicians…way to go with that Elgar Introduction and Allegro…that piece is challenging! You made it sound like a piece a cake. 

I’m looking forward to seeing all of the groups from these two schools at District III at the end of February!


IOI 2017

Welcome to the inaugural season of the Idaho Orchestra Institute. We are so excited that you are interested in this fantastic new program.

Students at IOI get the unique opportunity to work closely with Robert Franz during orchestra rehearsals.  He is internationally known for his ability to connect with musicians, and has spent countless hours volunteering in Idaho schools.. Hear what one teacher has to say about Maestro Franz .

I have been so impressed with the impact that Robert Franz has had with my music students during his school visits. He has so much energy and speaks right to the heart of my students, giving them the right tools at the right time to better express themselves as musicians.

Students also spend time with the Faculty Quartet, including violist Jennifer Drake. Jen has been volunteering her time in Idaho schools for over 17 years, frequently serving as a guest clinician.

Jen Drake was my “go to clinician” with students from Caldwell High School. I knew from past experiences that Jen would mesmerize my students with her ability to analyze and solve musical problems using humor and a quick come back that students readily responded to. Her technical knowledge of “how do I make my instrument do that” is always 2 steps in front of the students. Her ability to model tone quality and style with her viola is a valuable tool that gives credibility to her instruction. However, her most valuable characteristic is how she instantly relates to students and gets them to want to be a better orchestra because they want to please her. The likability factor is key to her success. Thank you Jen for contributing to the success of students in Caldwell.