Welcome to the May Festival's 150th Anniversary Season!

Browse the May Festival's 150th Anniversary Season and mark your calendars for more incredible performances at Music Hall!

Tickets and subscriptions will go on sale closer to the season. Stay tuned for more announcements!


Fri May 17, 2024 | 6:30 pm

Anthems can represent freedom from suffering or victory in war, celebrate nations, sow peace or even pump up a crowd from the rock n’ roll stage. What they all share in common is the power to unite and remind us of our shared humanity. Music Hall will reverberate with many unique interpretations of anthems — David Lang’s the national anthems acknowledges that freedom is fragile, delicate and easy to lose, while Julia Wolfe’s Pretty is a raucous anthem inspired by rock n’ roll, embracing the grit of fiddling and the relentlessness of work rhythms. Closing out the program is Vaughan-Williams beloved Dona nobis pacem, which was his plea for peace and an end to violence, written and premiered just a few years prior to the start of World War II.  


Sat May 18, 2024 | 6:30 pm

Her Story invokes the words of historical figures and the spirit of pivotal moments in history to pay tribute to the centuries of ongoing struggle for equal rights and representation for women in America. From the letters of Abigail Adams to words attributed to Sojourner Truth, Her Story, as explained by Julia Wolfe “captures the passion and perseverance of women refusing subordination, demanding representation, and challenging the prejudice and power structures that have limited women’s voices.” The dynamic vocal artists of the all-female Lorelei Ensemble join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for this immersive and visual semi-staged performance before the May Festival Chorus closes out the program with Gabriel Fauré’s tender and comforting Requiem.


Thu May 23, 2024 | 6:30 pm

Celebrating the natural wonders of earth and the perseverance of miners in Pennsylvania coal country, this program reflects both the beauty and tragedy of humanity’s relationship with our planet. The Steiger Butte Drum and Singers join the chorus and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Michael Gordon’s Natural History, which asks the question: If Crater Lake National Park were a symphony, what would it sound like? The result is a celebration of the park’s natural wonders, as well as its connection to the spiritual history of the surrounding community. In contrast, Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields is a haunting and powerful oratorio that captures not only the sadness of lives lost in the anthracite coal fields at the turn of the 20th century, but a way of daily life now also lost. The Bang on a Can All Stars lend their ferocity to this profound work alongside the May Festival Chorus.


Sun May 26, 2024 | 1:00 pm

There are few works of sacred music more cheerful and joyous than The Creation. It exemplifies Haydn’s own personal faith and optimism in humanity, as well as his profound belief in music's ability to edify, uplift and inspire. Through the inspired use of soloists, full chorus and orchestra, The Creation depicts and celebrates the creation of the earth, and all of its flora and fauna, as narrated in Biblical passages from Genesis and Psalms, as well as from John Milton's Paradise Lost. Responding to fan mail in 1802, Haydn explained that "a secret voice whispered to me: 'There are in this world so few happy and contented people; sorrow and grief follow them everywhere; perhaps your labor will become a source in which the man bowed down by care, or burdened with business matters, will for a while find peace and rest.”

Additional May Festival Appearances

September 8, 2022:  Greenacres Celebration Concert with the Pops
September 24-25, 2022: Mahler's Resurrection Symphony with the CSO
November 3-6, 2022: Orff's Carmina Burana with the Cincinnati Ballet
December 2-3, 2022: Holst's The Planets with the CSO
January 13-14, 2023: Grieg's Peer Gynt with the CSO
January 20, 2023: School for the Creative and Performing Arts Gala Concert
February 23-25, 2023: American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Cincinnati


Music Makers of Tomorrow

In celebration of the May Festival’s 150th Anniversary, please consider making a gift to the Music Makers of Tomorrow fund. Your contribution will propel us forward in our goal to raise $150,000 and guarantee that choral students of all ages are able to experience May Festival performances at no cost for our next 150 years.

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