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. In this capacity, he leads the Youth Chorus in an active series of concerts across greater Cincinnati and their annual appearances at the May Festival. He has prepared the May Festival Chorus for performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops at Cincinnati Music Hall and the Riverbend Music Center. In addition to his artistic duties, Mr. Swanson leads community outreach, education, and engagement activities for the May Festival.

Previously, Mr. Swanson was Director of Special Projects for the May Festival. In this role, he led efforts to expand community involvement in the May Festival, including the formation of the May Festival Community Chorus for their critically-acclaimed debut in Handel’s Messiah, the presentation of the Sing Hallelujah! Community Arts Showcase at Music Hall, and the 2018 Festival production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, featuring a cast of over 300 local residents.  

Mr. Swanson is an instructor in the Early Music Lab at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he teaches courses in early vocal repertoire. He previously taught choral methods in the CCM Division of Music Education and served as chorus master of CCM Opera and guest conductor of the CCM Chorale.

Recent conducting engagements include concerts at the Cincinnati Early Music Festival, performances with Cincinnati’s Musica Sacra, the Cambridge University Baroque Ensemble and the King’s College Music Society, and frequent appearances with ensembles at CCM. Mr. Swanson was cover conductor at the 2018 Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center. As a tenor, he has performed with Schola Antiqua (Chicago) and the Vocal Arts Ensemble (Cincinnati). He annually appears on the faculty of Berkshire Choral International, and he served on the music staff of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain in 2014 and 2015.

Mr. Swanson is a native of southeast Iowa. He earned degrees at the University of Notre Dame, the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, and King’s College, Cambridge. He joined the May Festival Chorus as a singer in the 2011-2012 season and was awarded the May Festival Choral Conducting Fellowship in 2015.