Announcing Jason Alexander Holmes as New Associate Director of Choruses and Director of the Youth Chorus

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CINCINNATI, OH (March 19, 2024)—The Cincinnati May Festival has announced Jason Alexander Holmes as its new Associate Director of Choruses and Director of the Youth Chorus. Holmes will begin his new position in the 2024-25 season, succeeding Matthew Swanson who will become the May Festival’s next Director of Choruses. In his new position, Holmes will lead and direct the May Festival Youth Chorus, an auditioned, mixed-voice chorus comprised of the region’s most talented singers in grades 8-12. Holmes will also assist in the preparations for the May Festival and lead the May Festival’s ongoing community engagement efforts.

“We are thrilled that Jason Alexander Holmes will be joining the May Festival staff,” said Swanson. “Jason is a skilled musician, an experienced educator, and an asset to Cincinnati’s choral community. He has worked very closely with the May Festival team over the years in a number of multi-chorus collaborations, including Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand and the 25 for 25 Commissioning Project as part of the May Festival’s 150th anniversary season, as well as Youth Voices United, a choral festival for local middle and high school students. I look forward to all that Jason will do to positively impact the lives of our youth chorus members through singing.”

Holmes has served as the Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Boychoir since 2019. In addition, Holmes directs Cincinnati’s MLK Chorale and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Classical Roots Community Chorus. As a pianist and music director, he has worked on productions at The Carnegie in Covington, Cincinnati Children’s Theatre, and Cincinnati Opera. As a vocalist, he has performed with Cincinnati Fusion Ensemble and several local church choirs.

Before coming to Cincinnati, Holmes served as the Director of Educational Programming at the Boston Children’s Chorus. Prior to his time in Boston, Holmes taught music at elementary and secondary public schools in Rochester, New York, where he also worked with theatre companies and Finger Lakes Opera.  He also led the University of Rochester Gospel Choir and Eastman Young Children’s Chorus. Holmes holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Ithaca College.

“Having worked closely with the May Festival in our many collaborations, it is an honor to join the May Festival team,” said Holmes. “I am grateful for the opportunity because I believe my personal mission of using choral music to create and share moments of truth and beauty meshes quite well with the May Festival's mission to engage, energize, and connect our community with the highest quality choral music.”

Choirs under Holmes’ direction have been consistently praised for their energetic, unified tone and engaging performance. He is known for innovative programming which celebrates context while encouraging singers and audiences alike to stretch their awareness by living in many different musical worlds. Pedagogically, Holmes is committed to implementing culturally responsive practices in music education. He has given workshops and conference sessions on the topic and professional development seminars, schools, and conferences.