Matthew Swanson

Associate Director of Choruses and May Festival Youth Chorus Director


Matthew Swanson is the Associate Director of Choruses and the Director of the Youth Chorus at the Cincinnati May Festival. He annually prepares the May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus for performances with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, and for their featured appearances at the May Festival.

Under his leadership, the May Festival has instituted an annual Youth Chorus commissioning project; the May Festival Community Chorus; the presentation of community choral concerts at Music Hall during the May Festival; a robust program of professional voice instruction, free to Chorus and Youth Chorus members; the Festival’s community choral podcast “Sing the Queen City”; and free in-school choral clinics for area high schools.

Beyond the May Festival, his affiliations have included the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center (New York), Schola Antiqua (Chicago), and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. He was previously an instructor in the Early Music Lab and the Division of Music Education at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), as well as the chorus master of CCM Opera. In 2021, he leads the choral program at Xavier University.

Mr. Swanson is a native of southeast Iowa. He earned an undergraduate degree in trumpet performance and American Studies at the University of Notre Dame; master’s degrees in choral conducting and choral studies from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and King’s College, Cambridge, respectively; and a doctorate of musical arts in conducting from UC-CCM. He was awarded the May Festival Choral Conducting Fellowship in 2015.