Biography

Dobbs Franks is equally at home conducting symphony orchestras, opera, ballet, chamber ensembles, choirs or playing the piano in chamber music including vocal recitals.

In addition to what is considered the standard repertoire he has a vital interest in new music and loves working with live composers.  He enjoys working with young people having conducted many youth orchestras and also was a Lecturer at the Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music at Monash University where he helped many young performers prepare for their lives as musicians.  He has conducted over 50 first performances including the premiere of Richard Meale’s opera Mer de Glace at the Sydney Opera House.  You can browse through his performed and recorded repertoire in various categories by following the links above.

Dobbs was born in the hills of Arkansas (USA) but now lives in Melbourne Australia.  His love of music has covered the world including having performed in 49 of the 50 states of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Greece, Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Tasmania.

His favorite music is whatever he is conducting or playing at the time.  His relaxation is competitive bridge anywhere in the world as well as online.

 

2016

Free lance conductor/pianist/vocal coach

Conductor Athenaeum Choir

Professional life coach

2014 – 2015

Executive Assistant to Ross Levin, Mills Oakley Lawyers, Melbourne

Conductor Athenaeum Choir

Free lance conductor/pianist/vocal coach

Professional life coach

2013

Lecturer in Voice, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University

Chief Adjudicator Herald Sun Aria Competition

2012

Coordinator and conductor of a Summer Course in Prato Italy

Lecturer in Voice, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University

Melbourne Youth Music – Facilitator, Conductor Development Program

2011

IFAC, Tokyo, Japan – Guest Conductor (cancelled because of tsunami)

2010

IFAC, Tokyo, Japan – Guest Conductor  Verdi’s Nabucco

2009

IFAC, Tokyo, Japan – Guest Conductor  Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Appointed Australian Chairman of IFAC

2008

Australian Opera Studio – Head of Music

IFAC, Tokyo, Japan – Guest Conductor Verdi’s Falstaff (repeat)

2007

West Australian Ballet – Music Director

Ausralian Opera Studio – Head of Music

IFAC, Tokyo, Japan – Guest Conductor Verdi’s Falstaff

2006

West Australian Ballet – Music Director

Australian Opera Studio – Guest Tutor

2005

West Australian Ballet – Music Director

Orchestra Victoria – Guest Conductor

Scottish Ballet – Guest Conductor (2004–2005) Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Belfast

2004

West Australian Ballet – Music Director

West Australian Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

ABC Classics – Recording of Puccini/Hocking, La Bohème, the Ballet, 2CD set, West Australian Symphony Orchestra

Australian Opera Studio – Guest Tutor

Western Australian Youth Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Great Barrier Orchestra (Townsville) – Guest Conductor

Scottish Ballet – Guest Conductor (2004–2005) Glasgow, Edinburgh,         Inverness, Belfast

2003

Lyric Opera of Melbourne – Guest Conductor

The Saint of Bleecker Street (Menotti)

West Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor

Pirates of Penzance, Essgee Productions – Conductor

2002

Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor

West Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor

Queensland Symphony – Guest Conductor

Adelaide Symphony – Guest Conductor

West Australian Symphony – Guest Conductor

2001

West Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor

Canberra Symphony – Guest Conductor

West Australian Symphony – Guest Conductor

2000

New Zealand Opera – Guest Conductor

Die Fledermaus with Dame Malvina Major

Auckland Sinfonia – Guest Conductor

1999

Queensland Philharmonia Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Auckland Sinfonia – Guest Conductor

Victorian College of the Arts Orchestra – Guest Conductor

State Orchestra of Victoria – Guest Conductor

1998

Chamber Made Opera – Music Director

Dunedin Sinfonia – Guest Conductor

Crazy for You – Music Director

State Theatre, Melbourne, Lyric Theatre, Brisbane

Queensland Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

New Zealand Chamber Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Martinborough Festival – Guest Conductor in Gershwin Festival

Concert performances of Carmen Jones (Wilhelmenia Fernandez) Melbourne, State Orchestra of Victoria

Adelaide Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

First performance Allan Zavod’s Trumpet Concerto (Adelaide Symphony)

Kiss Me Kate (Thomas Allen and Yvonne Kenny) Brisbane Festival

1997

Suwon Philharmonic (Seoul, Korea) – Guest Conductor

Opening, Crown Casino with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Anthony Warlow, John Farnham, Kylie Minogue, James Morrison and Ray Charles

Die Fledermaus – Opera Australia – Sydney and Melbourne

Crazy for You – Music Director

Theatre Royal, Sydney. State Theatre, Melbourne

Hunter Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

1996

Esso Concert in the Bowl, Victoria State Orchestra

ABC Symphony Orchestras – Guest Conductor Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, West Australia and Tasmania

Adelaide Festival – State Opera of South Australia – Australian premieres of Blue Monday (Gershwin) and Trouble in Tahiti (Bernstein)

My Fair Lady (VSO–IMG) – Music Director Brisbane

Crazy for You (John Frost) – Music Director Australian premiere season, Sydney

1995

All ABC Orchestras – Guest Conductor Sydney, Melbourne,                                                                             Adelaide, Queensland,  West Australia and Tasmanian                                             Symphony Orchestras

Hello Dolly (Gordon/Frost) – Music Director (Australia tour)

South Pacific (Gordon/Frost) – Music Director – Chaing Mai, Thailand

West Side Story (VSO–IMG) – Music Director – Brisbane

1993 – 1994

South Pacific (Gordon/Frost) – Music Director Australia and Hong Kong tour (323 performances)

1992 – 1994

All ABC Orchestras – Guest Conductor

Australian Opera – Guest Conductor 1993, 1994

Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor 1993

State Orchestra of Victoria – Guest Conductor 1994

Queensland Philharmonic – Guest Conductor 1993

Queensland State & Municipal Choir – Guest Conductor 1993

South Australian Youth Orchestra – Guest Conductor 1992, 1993

1989 – 1991

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra – Principal Conductor including tour to Korea and Indonesia

Australian Opera – Guest Conductor – 1989, 1990, 1991

All ABC Orchestras – Guest Conductor Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, West Australia and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras

Auckland Philharmonia – Guest Conductor – 1990

Dunedin Sinfonia – Guest Conductor – 1990, 1991

1984 – 1988

ABC Orchestras – Guest Conductor Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, West Australia and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras

Young Composers School – Conductor – 1987, 1988, 1989

Always Afternoon, SBS Television four hour mini series – Music Director

John Farnham Age of Reason Tour – Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony

West Australian Symphony – Ray Charles at Leeuwin – Conductor

State Opera of South Australia – Guest Conductor, 1988

Lyric Opera of Queensland – Guest Conductor – 1987, 1988

State Orchestra of Victoria – Eartha Kitt – Conductor, 1987

West Australian Ballet Company – Guest Conductor – 1986–88

Victorian College of the Arts – Guest Conductor 1985–88, 1979 – 1983

Australian Ballet – Music Director Australia, Greece, Israel, China and Mexico

All ABC Orchestras – Guest Conductor Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, West Australia and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras

West Side Story – Director and Music Director 1983, Sydney and Melbourne

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Symphonia of Auckland – Guest Conductor

Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Solo Pianist

West Australian Symphony Orchestra – Solo Pianist

Peking Opera and Dance Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Veracruz Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor (Mexico)

1976 – 1978

Canterbury Orchestra – Music Director – Christchurch, New Zealand

Christchurch Harmonic Society (Choir) – Music Director

Canterbury University – Part–time Lecturer

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

Portland (Oregon) Opera Company – Guest Conductor

Christchurch Arts Festival – Orfeo – Music Director

Australian Ballet – Guest Conductor

Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

1974 – 1975

Los Angeles Civic Light Opera – Porgy and Bess – Music Director

Atlanta, Georgia – Porgy and Bess – Music Director

Los Angeles Civic Light Opera – Camelot – Music Director

Christchurch Arts Festival – Guest Conductor 1975

Christchurch Arts Festival – Marriage of Figaro – Music Director

1972 – 1974

Rothchilds – National Company – Music Director

Jacques Brel – Music Director – New York and Boston

Winter Stock – Music Director – Miami

Song of Cyrano – Music Director – USA tour – original musical by Wright and Forrest

1970 – 1971

Australian Ballet – Music Director

Australia, Asia and first USA tour

Asia with Fonteyn – USA with Nureyev

Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras – Guest Conductor

1969

Australian Opera – Resident Conductor

Sydney Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

1967 – 1969

Christchurch Civic Orchestra – Music Director

Lindsay String Orchestra – Music Director – Wellington

Harmonic Society – Music Director – Wellington

New Zealand Chamber Players – Music Director and Pianist

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra – Guest Conductor

1966 – 1967

Man of La Mancha – Music Director – Israel (in Hebrew)

1966

New York City – Freelance conductor

West Side Story – Music Director – Puebla International Festival

Lindsay Orchestra – Guest Conductor – Wellington

Porgy and Bess – Music Director – Israel

1965

New Zealand Opera Company – Artistic and Music Director, Porgy and Bess, Don Giovanni, Il Trovatore

Elizabethan Opera Company – Australia – Porgy and Bess – Music Director

1964

Lincoln Center Summer Theatre – Associate Conductor, Merry Widow and King and I

Lincoln Center Merry Widow – USA tour – Music Director

1963 – 1964

Camelot National Company – Music Director

1962

Summer Stock – Music Director – Chicago

1961 – 1962

Manhattan School of Music – New York City, Member of conducting faculty, Conductor of Repertoire Orchestra, Ass’t conductor – First Orchestra and Opera Orchestra

1961

Lock Up Your Daughters – Music Director – Australia

Most Happy Fella – Music Director – Australia

West Side Story – Music Director – Canadian premiere

Summer Stock – Music Director – Ohio

1960 – 1961

West Side Story – Music Director – Australia

West Side Story – Pianist and Assistant Conductor – first USA tour

1959 – 1960

National Opera Company – Music Director – USA tour

1959

Summer Stock – Pianist then Conductor – New England

1958 – 1959

Robert Shaw Chorale – Pianist and Assistant to Mr Shaw (USA tour)

1958

Porgy and Bess – Pianist and Assistant Conductor – USA tour

1956 – 1958

Freelance pianist, coach and accompanist, New York City