Surround Yourself in Song

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Greetings from the Principal Conductor



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Dear Friends,

Welcome to your 2018 Cincinnati May Festival!

It is my first year as Principal Conductor, and we are delighted to present you with our new ideas, which are full of ambition, energy and beauty.

But this isn’t just any May Festival. This year, 2018, we have much to celebrate.

This year’s Festival, more than ever before, is for the entire community—for all of you. We have planned two events that are particularly community-centered: Our “Sing Hallelujah” concert explores the expression “Hallelujah” with performances by local talent, ranging from classical and gospel to country and rock; it’s free and all are welcome. Also, for our closing concert, featuring Handel’s Messiah, we have invited members of the community to join the May Festival Chorus in singing this great work—more than 150 of these voices will resonate from the balconies of Music Hall. I am also pleased to welcome “Otxote Txanbela,” a group of eight singers from my home in the Basque country of Spain who will come to Cincinnati to sing throughout the city, in social and educational events and pre-concert performances at Music Hall.

2018 also marks the 100th anniversary of our former Honorary Music Director Leonard Bernstein’s birth. We will give a rare performance of his monumental choral masterpiece, MASS, in which performers from the Cincinnati community will also participate under the baton of our Director of Choruses Robert Porco.

This year is historic for another reason. Eun Sun Kim will make her debut as the first female conductor for the May Festival. She will be on the podium for Verdi’s mighty Requiem, joined by a stellar quartet of soloists.

This year also marks a homecoming for the May Festival, as it returns to Music Hall after its impressive renovation. The enhanced acoustical design in Springer Auditorium will broadcast the clear and crisp sounds of Gabrieli’s Magnificat for 33 voices, the American premiere of James MacMillan’s Credo and Ravel’s ballet Daphnis et Chloé—a performance of which was, incidentally, the start of my love affair with the May Festival Chorus!

Speaking of the May Festival Chorus, they will once again delight with their talent, performances and sounds at the highest levels. This year we are joined by world-class soloists such as Michelle Bradley, Robin Johanssen, David Daniels, Matthew Polenzani, John Relyea and José Antonio López.

Most importantly, and above all, we celebrate because you are here with us, listening to us and supporting us. Without you there would not be a Festival—you are the heart, the center and the driving force of the Cincinnati May Festival.

We thank you for your support, and we welcome you with open arms!

With love and best wishes,