Flutist Blair Francis was appointed Assistant Principal/2nd Flute of the Naples Philharmonic in 2018 under Music Director Andrey Boreyko. She performed with the New York Philharmonic as acting section flute for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons, and has worked with renowned conductors including Jaap van Zweden, Bernard Haitink, Manfred Honeck, Andris Nelsons, Stéphane Denève, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gianandrea Noseda, Iván Fischer, and Michael Tilson Thomas, among others. She previously held the Edgar and Patricia Harris Flute II Chair of the Austin Symphony Orchestra for the 2013-2014 season. Ms. Francis has also performed with the New World Symphony, Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Augusta Symphony Orchestra (GA) and the Palmetto Opera Orchestra (SC).
The recipient of numerous awards, Ms. Francis was selected as a prizewinning finalist in the Young Artist Competitions of the Florida Flute Association and the South Carolina Flute Society. In 2010, she was selected as a winner of the National Flute Association Masterclass Performers Competition. She has been an instrumental fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, Sarasota Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, and Eastern Music Festival, where she earned a review in the CVNC Arts Journal in North Carolina for her performance of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe.
A winner of The University of South Carolina and The University of Texas at Austin concerto competitions, she performed the Ibert Concerto and the Nielsen Concerto, respectively. Her performance of the Ibert Concerto earned her a review in the South Carolina freetimes as “taking [the movement] in stride and making it seem effortless” with a “spectacular cadenza.”
Ms. Francis has performed in master classes for renowned artists and flutists including Marina Piccinini, Karl-Heinz Schutz, Stefán Höskuldsson, Emmanuel Pahud, Timothy Day, Jim Walker, Leone Buyse, Carol Wincenc, Thomas Robertello, Jean Ferrandis, and Michael Faust.
She received a Professional Studies Certificate in Orchestral Performance at the Manhattan School of Music as a full scholarship student. She holds a Master of Music degree from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Music degree from The University of South Carolina, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and received the Presser Scholar Award. Ms. Francis is greatly indebted to her teachers Robert Langevin, Marianne Gedigian, Jennifer Parker-Harley, and Cynthia Hopkins.