Welcome to the May Festival's 150th Anniversary Season!
Browse the May Festival's 150th Anniversary Season and mark your calendars for more incredible performances at Music Hall!
Tickets and subscriptions will go on sale closer to the season. Stay tuned for more announcements!
Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena opens the 150th Festival with new works by American composer James Lee III and former May Festival Creative Partner James MacMillan. Premiered in the U.S. by the May Festival in 1875, Bach’s Magnificat was described then as we would now—as “the highest form of human expression.” Written for a sacred feast, the work cleverly turns Latin texts into a dazzling musical picture gallery.
JAMES MACMILLAN: New Work
JAMES LEE III: Breaths of Universal Longings [May Festival Commission, World Premiere]
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH: Magnificat
MARIN ALSOP: AMERICAN VOICES
Celebrated Maestra Marin Alsop makes her May Festival debut, leading a program showcasing composers who crafted the American musical identity. Samuel Barber’s Knoxville transports us to a lyrical dream of a Tennessee summer, while Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” rings with Midwestern hope of prosperity. Also, the “uncanny radiance” (The New Yorker) of Robert Nathaniel Dett’s The Ordering of Moses returns to Music Hall—a work the Festival premiered in 1937 and later performed and recorded at Carnegie Hall.
SAMUEL BARBER: Symphony No. 1 in One Movement
SAMUEL BARBER: Knoxville: Summer of 1915
ROBERT NATHANIEL DETT: The Ordering of Moses
AARON COPLAND: “The Promise of Living” from The Tender Land
Conductor James Conlon, the beloved former Music Director of the May Festival whose 37-year tenure as artistic leader remains the longest in Festival history, returns to lead a new work by American composer Julia Adolphe and Mozart’s famous music for a Requiem mass. First performed by the May Festival in 1882, the Requiem radiates fearless brilliance—sacred music for The Last Judgement that touches on the sublime.
JULIA ADOLPHE: New Work [May Festival Commission, World Premiere]
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Requiem
MAHLER'S SYMPHONY NO. 8
Mahler called his Eighth Symphony, “the biggest thing that I have ever done…in which the most beautiful instrument in the world is given its true place.” Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena concludes the 150th May Festival with a work with gigantic proportions—music of triumph and transcendence that celebrates the power of the human voice, featuring the sounds of the Chorus and the CSO in the breathtaking space of Music Hall.
GUSTAV MAHLER: Symphony No. 8, Symphony of a Thousand
September 8, 2022: Greenacres Celebration Concert with the Pops
September 24-25, 2022: Mahler's Resurrection Symphony with the CSO
November 3-6, 2022: Orff's Carmina Burana with the Cincinnati Ballet
December 2-3, 2022: Holst's The Planets with the CSO
January 13-14, 2023: Grieg's Peer Gynt with the CSO
January 20, 2023: School for the Creative and Performing Arts Gala Concert
February 23-25, 2023: American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Cincinnati. This event is not open to the general public.
May 2023: Twenty-five Greater Cincinnati choral ensembles will premiere works written specifically for them by composers from the Luna Lab and funded by the May Festival. Details to be announced.
In celebration of the May Festival’s 150th Anniversary, please consider making a gift to the Music Makers of Tomorrow fund. Your contribution will propel us forward in our goal to raise $150,000 and guarantee that choral students of all ages are able to experience May Festival performances at no cost for our next 150 years.