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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Mark Cantrell

Bill DeYoung



Florida Orchestra CEO Mark Cantrell often speaks of the “adventure gene” as a key part of his DNA. He took the reins of the bay area’s venerable nonprofit in March 2019, and just a year later found himself facing the unforeseeable Covid crisis. Like everything else, The Florida Orchestra shut down for an indefinite period of time.

Monday on The Catalyst Sessions, Cantrell candidly discussed his feelings about the performance blackout, now in its fifth month, about how he, music director Michael Francis, the board and the staff are working diligently to bring the curtain back up in a slow, steady, safe fashion.

For Cantrell, it all comes back to the “adventure gene.” It’s got him out of fixes before.

A longtime professional trombonist, Cantrell transitioned into executive roles in Massachusetts and, later on, Wisconsin.

Along the way, he raced sled dogs across hundreds of frozen miles, earned a professional pilot’s license and flew shuttle planes to a from New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Safety – that of both the patrons and the players – is paramount while The Florida Orchestra plans a new-fashioned season to start in November.

“We’re flying the airplane,” he said, by way of analogy. “We will change the depth to what we have to do; if it means we can’t get to our destination the way we wanted to get there, we’ll figure out another way to do it.”

An announcement is planned for early September.


Today on The Catalyst Sessions: SHINE Mural Festival coordinator Jenee Priebe.

Streaming at 7 p.m. weekdays on the Catalyst Facebook page. All episodes are archived on our YouTube page.




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