“For the first time in nearly four decades, the Cincinnati May Festival is searching for a new leader. James Conlon, 64, music director of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979, announced on Friday that 2016 will be his final season,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Friday’s (2/27) Cincinnati Enquirer. “He will be named May Festival Music Director Laureate, and he will return to guest conduct both the May Festival and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra…. After Conlon leads the ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus for the last time in 2016—his 37th season—Music Hall is expected to close its doors for about 18 months to undergo a massive renovation. The festival will be displaced for at least a year. Conlon said that the uncertainty of the revitalization plans factored into his decision…. Founded in 1873, [the festival’s] music directors have included founder Theodore Thomas, Eugene Goossens, Max Rudolf, Julius Rudel and James Levine. Anchored by the May Festival Chorus, the festival presents masterpieces of choral music over a span of two weeks each May.… Conlon has served longer than any other music director in the festival’s 142-year history.” The article includes an interview with Conlon and a timeline of his activities in Cincinnati.
Posted March 2, 2015