Cincinnati May Festival Announces Conducting Fellow for the 2021-22 Season


The Cincinnati May Festival has announced Matthew Swope as the May Festival Choral Conducting Fellow for the 2021-2022 season. Swope, who previously served as the Director of Choral Activities at Winter Park High School in Orlando, Florida, is currently a first-year doctoral student in choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). He was recently awarded second place in the high school chorus division of the American Prize Dale Warland Award in Choral Conducting.

“Matthew brings extensive experience in choral conducting and people management,” said Steven Sunderman, executive director of the May Festival. “He demonstrates a deep passion for the art form and a strong commitment to excellence, and we are very pleased to have him join our team.”

The May Festival Choral Conducting Fellowship was created in 2013 at the generosity of Ginger Warner, a long-time Trustee of the University of Cincinnati and Director Emeritus of the May Festival Board of Directors. Each year since its inception, in collaboration with CCM’s graduate choral conducting program, a fellow is chosen from CCM’s Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) class and serves one season as the assistant conductor of the May Festival Chorus.

“I am honored to join my esteemed colleagues and mentors at the May Festival,” said Swope. “The excellence, renown, and visionary spirit of the Festival continue to reflect the ideals of its founding nearly 150 years ago. It is a privilege to be a part of this legacy and, indeed, history in the making.”

Matthew Swope is the ninth May Festival Choral Conducting Fellow in the history of the program. Previous fellows now lead youth, university, community, church, and professional choral programs in greater Cincinnati, across the country, and abroad. 

“This Fellowship has consistently attracted top emerging choral leaders to Cincinnati,” continues Sunderman. “Not only does this program benefit the appointed fellow from an opportunity and professional development standpoint, it also pays dividends to the May Festival and Greater Cincinnati region in elevating music and the performing arts. We look forward to our season with Matthew.”

Matthew Swope will assist Director of Choruses Robert Porco in the leadership of the May Festival Chorus, as well as participate in the full scope of the Festival’s organizational and artistic endeavors.

Matthew Swope

Matthew Swope is a first-year doctoral student in choral conducting at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He previously served as the Director of Choral Activities and Performing Arts Department Chair at Winter Park High School (Orlando, Florida) for 14 years, leading eight curricular choirs and two contemporary a capella groups. Matthew has also served on the voice faculty of Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida) and Camp A Cappella (Dayton, Ohio).

A native of Pennsylvania, Mr. Swope received his M.M. in Voice Performance & Pedagogy and B.A. degrees in Music and Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. In 2013, he was awarded Penn State’s Outstanding Alumni Music Educator Award and was included in the Most Influential People, Class of 2019 by Winter Park Magazine.  

Ensembles under Matthew’s direction have performed for the American Choral Directors Association

(ACDA) Southern Region, Florida American Choral Directors Association (Florida ACDA), Florida Music Education Association (FMEA), National A Cappella Convention (NACC), and the International Championship of High School A Cappella Finals. He has presented sessions for ACDA, FMEA, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. 

A tenor, Matthew was a founding member of the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the A Cappella Education Association and Florida ACDA.