The Florida Orchestra announced Monday that president and CEO Mark Cantrell is leaving in May. He will become the CEO of the Colorado Symphony in Denver.
Cantrell joined The Florida Orchestra in 2019. He was previously the CEO of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, a professional ensemble in Madison, Wisconsin. But in his varied background, he was also a professional musician, sled-dog racer, commercial pilot and furniture maker.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Cantrell said in a news release. “I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished together at TFO, but I’m excited for the new challenge of a larger orchestra in an area that holds great meaning personally.”
Cantrell said it’s been a lifelong dream to live in the mountains and that the move is the “opportunity of a lifetime.” He said while he’ll miss working with music director Michael Francis and the entire team, he has no doubt that the orchestra will continue to grow and impact the community.
Francis will continue to lead the orchestra with 71 full-time professional musicians and conductors. Operations will continue to be run by senior staff with oversight by the board of directors.
The board has initiated a national search to identify a new CEO.
“Mark’s leadership during the COVID pandemic was critical to our success,” said board chairperson Gregory Yadley in the release. “Mark galvanized TFO together as a team in partnership with Michael Francis and TFO’s board to boldly keep TFO performing when almost no other orchestras did. ... The orchestra emerged in a solid financial position, thanks to Mark’s oversight, Maestro Francis’ creative programming, and the steadfast support of donors and patrons.”
Francis said Cantrell leaves the orchestra in a position to build on its success on stage and in the community.
“I wish him, his wife, Carolyn, and his family all the best in Colorado,” Francis said.
For more information, visit floridaorchestra.org.