Born in Hampstead (UK) on 9 June 1949, Francis Monkman was a pupil at Westminster School where he studied organ and harpsichord, later studying at the Royal College of Music, winning the Raymond Russell prize for virtuosity on the harpsichord and becoming a member of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.
In the late 1960’s, he founded the rock band Sisyphus, which evolved into the pioneering band Curved Air. He played on their first three albums, leaving after the release of ‘Phantasmagoria’ (1972) and returning briefly for the tour which resulted in the release of the album ‘Live’ (1975). He contributed to the Renaissance album ‘Prologue’ (1972), worked with Al Stewart including contributing to the album ‘Past, Present and Future’ (1973) and toured with The Shadows on their ’20 Golden Greats Tour’ (1977). Also in 1977, he collaborated with Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno on the project 801. In 1978, together with guitarist and composer John Williams he founded the classical/rock music fusion band called Sky with whom he stayed until 1980.
In 1978, he played the Hammond Organ on Kate’s songs Don’t Push Your Foot On The Heartbrake and Fullhouse, and plays harpsichorde on the song Oh England My Lionheart.
In 1980, he resumed classical performances and recordings including the soundtrack to the British film ‘The Long Good Friday’.