Mason Cancilla is a graduate of the University at Buffalo (UB) with an MM in Orchestral Conducting. While at UB, he served as the assistant conductor of the University at Buffalo Symphony Orchestra (UBSO). In 2023 he created Avanti Chamber Orchestra and Chorus - an amateur group dedicated to performing works for choir and orchestra not frequently heard in the concert hall.
He is currently music director of Cantio Sacra at Canisius University and has been since 2021. Mason is a conductor and team coordinator for Buffalo String Works, a general music educator for St. Andrew's Country Day School, and serves as organist to several churches throughout Western New York. In the 2022/23 concert season, Cancilla acted as a long-term guest conductor for the Cheektowaga Community Symphony, and is expected to return in April of '24.
During the summer of '23, Mason spent time at the Eastman School of Music studying, conducting and performing Mendelssohn's Elijah. He was also part of the 2022 program, similarly studying, conducting and performing Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem. In the summer of '21, Mason spent two intensive weeks studying with eleven other conductors in the South Carolina Conductors Institute. This was his second time through the program, having been a member of the 2020 institute.
Cancilla conducted the world premiere of his Festival Mass written for the sesquicentennial celebration of Canisius College (now Canisius University) in March of 2020. A few months later, he’d earn a Bachelor of Music degree from the same school. Festival Mass was written for chamber orchestra, choir, and soprano soloist. While at Canisius from 2018-20, Cancilla was the assistant conductor of the Canisius College Chamber Orchestra and also served as it's resident composer and arranger. He performed as a member of the Canisius Chorale and pursued studies in conducting, vocal, and piano performance. In 2020 Mason was awarded the "Edith DeLuca Memorial Award for Excellence in Music". In 2018 he placed second in the 7th Annual "Persis Vehar Competition for Excellence in Composition".
In 2018, Mason graduated from Niagara County Community College (NCCC) where he was invited to return on several occasions to music direct for it's Music and Theater programs - past engagements include Into the Woods and GodSpell. While a student at NCCC, Mason received the "Award for Excellence in Business, Technology, and the Arts". In 2017-18 Mason acted as Artistic Representative to New York conductor, Dr. Harold Rosenbaum.
As an advocate for community arts programs, Mason has served as music director for the St. Stephen’s Parish Players on Grand Island in productions of The Wizard of Oz and 9 to 5 the Musical. From 2015-17 Mason was the stage manager and librarian for the Cheektowaga Community Symphony Orchestra.
A full CV is also available to download here:
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