Francis Knights was born in Canada and studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London, Magdalen College, Oxford and Nottingham University. He has held positions at the Royal Northern College of Music, Green College, Oxford, Somerville College, Oxford, the BBC, the British Library and King's College, London, and edited four music journals.
Over the years he has founded and directed many vocal and instrumental ensembles, including Gradualia, the Cambridge Renaissance Ensemble, Bach Collegium Oxford and the Erasmus Chamber Choir, and has also been conductor of Voces Angelicae, Somerville College Chapel Choir and the Renaissance Choir, among others. He is also a busy keyboard recitalist and continuo player.
Since 2009 he has been Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Music at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge, and is also Chairman of the National Early Music Association.