Announcing 2024 Livestream Concert Information

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CINCINNATI, OH (March 28, 2024)—The May Festival has announced plans to livestream the concert, “Anthems,” on May 18, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. This concert will be premiered for free via the May Festival’s YouTube Channel and at Following the digital premiere, the concert will be freely accessible to the general public for seven days; subscribers and donors will receive extended viewing privileges in the May Festival On Demand portal.


Saturday, May 18, 2024 | 7:30 p.m.
Livestreamed on the May Festival’s YouTube Channel and at

Stephanie Childress, conductor
May Festival Youth Chorus, Matthew Swanson, director
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée, music director

Julia WOLFE   All that breathes (World Premiere, May Festival Commission)
David LANG   the national anthems
Julia WOLFE   Pretty
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS   Dona nobis pacem

Franco-British conductor Stephanie Childress makes her May Festival debut in a program inspired by the power of anthems, with music by Wolfe, her Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert opens with the world premiere of Wolfe's All that breathes, a new work commissioned by the May Festival that embraces the massive sound of collective breath and exhalation. Then, the string section of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) joins the May Festival Chorus for the United States premiere of Lang’s 2023 orchestral version of the national anthems, for which the composer compiled lines and concepts from all of the world’s national anthems to find one major commonality: a desire for freedom, and fear of the ease by which it can be lost. The CSO is then featured in Wolfe’s Pretty. Drawing upon Wolfe's lifelong affinity for folk and rock music and decades of musical experimentation, Pretty explores the concept of "prettiness" and its historical relationship with womanhood, and complicates that with a nod to the word’s Old English meaning of cunning, crafty or clever. The result: a raw and raucous anthem of work rhythms, thwarting notions of what pretty can mean. The Chorus, joined by the May Festival Youth Chorus, returns for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ plea for peace in his Dona nobis pacem, written in the years leading up to World War II, with text from a collection of poetry by Walt Whitman, the Latin Mass and more.