Greetings from the Principal Conductor


Dear Friends,

Welcome to the 2019 Cincinnati May Festival!

It is always a thrill to be with you in Cincinnati and I am honored to work with the dedicated and talented musicians of the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. As we embark on the 2019 Festival, we contemplate what may be the most fundamental and existential question of all: “Is there life after death? Is there anybody there?”

Throughout the two weeks packed with awe-inspiring music, we explore topics such as destiny (as in Brahms’ Schicksalslied), immortality (with the American premiere of Mark Simpson’s The Immortal), the afterlife (Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region), the final words before dying (James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross), and the lament and suffering of the Passion (Bach’s St. Matthew Passion).

Every May Festival is unique, and we have some wonderful new collaborators for 2019. Director of Choruses Robert Porco and I are delighted to welcome Roomful of Teeth and Sir James MacMillan as Creative Partners this Photo: Michael Novak season. The expertise and artistry of our guests alongside the May Festival Chorus and CSO have helped to shape a remarkable series of concerts. It is also an honor for me to welcome back Music Director Laureate James Conlon to the May Festival podium.

At the May Festival’s very essence, we bring people together through song. Inside Music Hall there are four concerts featuring chorus and orchestra, plus our “Sounds of the City” community event curated in collaboration with James MacMillan. Outside of Springer Auditorium we have an extraordinary evening of music with the Vocal Arts Ensemble performing Considering Matthew Shepard at the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music’s Corbett Auditorium, and a wonderful opportunity to experience the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth in concert at the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine. The Festival also included a sublime evening of music that showcased our May Festival Chamber Choir and Youth Chorus at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption last month—an evening that people are still talking about.

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

With love and best wishes,