It's been awhile since I've been to Mansfield's beautiful Renaissance Theatre. This is a late-1920s movie palace, originally gaudy, ornate and wired for the talkies. Echoing the story of many such lavish temples for celluloid built across the U.S., the building went into decline as vaudeville died and Clark Gable in the movies gave way to I Love Lucy on TV.
Today, the Renaissance Theatre is a wonderfully restored treasure with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in residence. Formed in 1930, the symphony is another community jewel, worth knowing better. I'm happy to say that the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra has been a member of the Classical 101 Music in Mid-Ohio family for years.
The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra has a new music director, an engaging Spaniard named Octavio Más-Arocas. He was a protege of the late Kurt Masur, both in Aspen and at the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He's also married to a conductor, Kiki Kilburn, and his sister and brother-in-law are conductors as well!
I recently caught up with Más-Arocas to chat about the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Masur, composers Igor Stravinsky and Zoltán Kodály, opera and picnics:
Along with his Mansfield appointment, Más-Arocas has just been named director of orchestras at Ithaca College in New York. That's a family seat for me. I told him to take his kids picnicking on Cayuga Lake.
Here's the Maestro in action. Better yet — go to Mansfield and see for yourself!