2023 Mainstage Series

Enjoy all four performances at Music Hall and save over 15% off single ticket prices. You’ll enjoy the full experience of internationally acclaimed soloists, uplifting moments of music with the power of the full Chorus with the CSO, and plenty of perks including seating priority, FREE ticket exchanges, access to pre-paid parking and more!


Fri May 19, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena opens the 150th Festival with world premieres by American composer James Lee III and former May Festival Creative Partner James MacMillan. Given its American premiere at the 1875 May Festival, Bach's celebratory Magnificat was described then as we would now— as "the highest form of human expression."

This concert is sponsored by Patty Misrach.


Sat May 20, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Celebrated maestra Marin Alsop makes her May Festival debut with a showcase of composers who crafted the American musical identity. Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is a lyrical dream of the Tennessee summer, while Aaron Copland's "The Promise of Living" rings with the hope of prosperity. The "uncanny radiance" (The New Yorker) of Robert Nathaniel Dett's The Ordering of Moses— a work the Festival premiered in 1937—returns to Music Hall.

This concert is sponsored by Joan P. Baily in memory of Oliver L. Baily.


Thu May 25, 2023 | 7:30 pm

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.

This concert is sponsored by the Christine E. and Thomas L. Neyer, Sr. Family.


Sat May 27, 2023 | 7:30 pm

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 of 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.

This concert is sponsored by Ethan and Doreen Stanley in memory of Ethan Bates Stanley II.