Franck Ollu


Franck Ollu is a versatile conductor, widely acknowledged as an expert in the field of contemporary and French music. During the 2020-21 season Franck will conduct the Budapest Festival and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestras, the orchestra at the Musikene San Sebastián, and the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra at Musica Viva in Munich. He also will return to conduct the Basel Chamber Orchestra at the Basel Composition Competition in 2021, as well as continuing his long collaboration with Ensemble Modern.

Recent opera engagements include revivals of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande at Strasbourg Opera and Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg in Caen. He also returned to the Salzburg Festival for a performance of Medeamaterial by Dusapin.

Franck has been invited to conduct the world premiere performances of many important opera titles, including Bianchi’s Thanks to My Eyes (Festival Aix-en-Provence), Dusapin’s Penthésiléa (La Monnaie) and Passion (Festival Aix-en-Provence). He conducted the first performances of Benjamin’s first opera Into the Little Hill at Opéra Bastille in 2006, and Die Wunde Heine by Helmut Oehring with both Ensemble Modern and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

He has a particularly close relationship with Ensemble Modern, and has also recently worked with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin and Frankfurt Radio, BBC and Danish National Symphony Orchestras. World premiere performances of works for orchestra or ensemble have included compositions by Brian Ferneyhough, Peter Eötvös and Wolfgang Rihm.


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    12 Sep 19 Penthesilea DVD
    La Monnaie

    “The recording from the Monnaie performances is wonderfully clear and spacious. Every detail of the orchestral writing, with the electronics that Duspain uses very sparingly, registers under Franck Ollu…. this is a lingeringly powerful piece of music theatre, no doubt of it.”


    Andrew Clements, The Guardian


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    27 Oct 18 Pelléas et Mélisande
    Opera du Rhin

    “Like “the floor that breathes” (Boulez), the orchestra conducted by Franck Ollu keeps itself from any excess, scrupulously respecting Debussy’s indications, never swallowing the voices. Subtle, refined, but able to underline the “expressive” indications that Debussy embellishes his score, without ever falling into an expressionist or verist bias, he sings, from the prelude, clear and profound, retained as it should be. The flexibility, the precision of the lyrical declamation animated by the conductor, the breaths he imposes deserve to be underlined. This last one from Strasbourg will be remembered in all memories.”

    Yvan Beuvard, Forum Opéra

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    18 Jan 18 Il Prigioniero / Das Gehege
    La Monnaie

    “Nevertheless, the most beautiful link between two parts of unequal strength is none other than Franck Ollu, undoubtedly one of the best performers of the contemporary repertoire. Rihm is not conducted like Mozart, and the conductor’s gestures, as attentive to the entrances of singers as to his musicians, are ballet.”

    Stéphane Renard, L’Echo

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    31 Mar 17 "The Oresteia"
    Basel Opera

    “Bewundernswert, wie umsichtig und cool der Dirigent Franck Ollu agiert, der ohne direkten Blickkontakt zu Protagonisten und Chor mit dem Rücken zum Geschehen, das er lenkt, auf der Bühne steht.”
    Frankfurter Allgemeine

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    26 Jan 16 Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

    “Am Pult steht diesmal im Großen Saal des RBB, der Franzose Franck Ollu, ein inspirierender Dirigent der Moderne aus der Schule von Boulez und Eötvös, auf den die Musiker sich verlassen können. Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.”

    Der Tagesspiegel

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    29 Sep 15 Pascal Dusapin Penthésiléa
    Opera du Rhin

    “Cet art-là ne cherche pas à imiter l’horreur, et l’effroi naît bien plutôt d’une tension qui se passe de hurlements. Spécialiste du répertoire contemporain, Franck Ollu s’empare de la partition avec la subtilité qui convient, et conduit sans esbroufe l’Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg jusqu’au bout de ce voyage ténébreux”.

    Forum Opera France

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    25 Jul 15 Pierre Boulez, Johannes Schöllhorn, Shiori Usui, Jolas. Derive 2
    BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall

    “…given with consummate expertise by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and conductor Franck Ollu, ended with the teeming, furiously tangled ensemble writing of Boulez’s most substantial recent work, Dérive 2, which reached its current 45-minute form six years ago”.

    The Guardian, London 


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    Label: Cypres

    Release Date: 13 Sep 19

    La Monnaie

    Penthesilea: Natascha Petrinsky
    Prothoe: Marisol Montalvo
    Achilles: Georg Nigl
    Odysseus: Werner van Mechelen
    Oberpriesterin: Eve-Maud Hubeaux
    Bote: Wiard Witholt
    Botin: Yaroslava Kozina
    Amazone: Marta Beretta

    Orchestra: La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra

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    Jakob Lenz

    Label: Alpha

    Release Date: 14 Jun 19

    La Monnaie

    Jakob Lenz: Georg Nigl
    Oberlin: Henry Waddington
    Kaufmann: John Graham-Hall

    Director: Andrea Breth
    Set design: Martin Zehetgruber
    Costume design: Eva Dessecker
    Lighting: Alexander Koppelmann
    Dramaturg: Sergio Morabito
    Orchestra: La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra