New orchestral leadership

Welcoming new directors in Fall 2020.

Photo of conductor, arms stretched, baton in hand, facing camera.
The College of Music welcomes Maestro Octavio Más-Arocas as Director of Orchestras.
Katherine Kilburn sitting on steps, outdoors.
The College of Music welcomes Dr. Katherine Kilburn as Assistant Director of Orchestras.

After an extensive search that included a remarkably strong pool of applicants, the College of Music is pleased to announce the appointment of Octavio Más-Arocas as Director of Orchestras. An award-winning, sought-after conductor, Dr. Más-Arocas will officially begin his new position on August 16, 2020.

The college is also pleased that Katherine Kilburn, Dr. Más-Arocas’ spouse, will also join the College of Music faculty as Assistant Director of Orchestras. Dr. Kilburn is currently Interim Director of Orchestras at Cornell University.

Maestro Más-Arocas is currently the Director of Orchestras and Professor of Orchestral Conducting at Ithaca College in New York, Music Director and Conductor of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, Principal Conductor of the Marquette Symphony Orchestra in Michigan, and Conductor-in-Residence at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California. His experiences include a long association with Interlochen Arts Academy where he was Director of Orchestras and where he continues to spend a portion of his summer conducting, as well as widespread conducting experience including contemporary music and opera through his previous conducting positions with the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Sewanee Music Festival, and National Repertory Orchestra. In the past few years he has conducted orchestras across North and South America and Europe, including Romania, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Ukraine, Italy, and the Netherlands. He is known as a versatile and dynamic conductor.

"We feel very honored to be joining the MSU family and to lead its highly regarded orchestral program,” Dr. Más-Arocas said. “We are very excited to work with the incredibly talented students, the world class faculty, and the caring administration to create unique experiences while making great music together. MSU is an inspiring place, home of superb artists, and we can't wait to be part of this extraordinary community."     

Dr. Kilburn’s experience includes being Interim Director of Orchestras at Cornell University, and Kent State University, guest conductor of Symphoria, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble X, the Heights Chamber Orchestra, and Cleveland Opera Theater, and the St. Endellion Festival. She assisted Simon Rattle at the Easter Festival in Salzburg, and was assistant conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, the El Paso Opera, the Hot Springs Music Festival, the Bowling Green State University Philharmonia, and the St. Louis Symphony Chorus. Her extensive experience as a teacher working with young musicians includes conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Wind Ensemble, Music Director and Conductor of the Greater New Haven Youth and Chamber Orchestras, Conductor of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Repertory Orchestra, and Interim Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association’s Philharmonia Orchestra. Dr. Kilburn maintains a regular schedule of guest conducting, adjudicating, and being a clinician at festivals around the United States.

This dynamic couple and their extensive experiences inspiring and transforming young artists have made them in-demand teachers. Dr. Más-Arocas, for example, has taught workshops and masterclasses around the world and remains on the faculty of two highly competitive conducting workshops.

"The College of Music is incredibly honored to welcome Professors Octavio Más-Arocas and Katherine Kilburn as our new director of orchestras and lecturer in conducting,” said Kevin Sedatole, director of bands and chair of the search committee that included ten faculty and two students. “Both bring a wealth of professional and collegiate experience to MSU. I know the future of the MSU orchestra is extremely bright with Professors Más-Arocas and Kilburn. We are all extremely excited to begin the next musical journey with them."

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