Cincinnati May Festival’s scaled-back 2021 season, with music by Holst, Perry, Mahler, Esmail, Copland, Adams, Schneider, Busiakiewicz

Posted on: March 30, 2021

“For its return to Music Hall this May, the Cincinnati May Festival is programming emotional music that, said principal conductor Juanjo Mena, ‘speaks to our time,’ ” writes Janelle Gelfand in Monday’s (3/29) Cincinnati Business Courier (OH). “The 2021 May Festival will present five in-person performances in Music Hall, May 21-30…. The chorus will be about 20 singers with a reduced Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra…. Performances on May 22 and May 30 will be streamed live and available free for 24 hours.… Both festival weekends will include selections from Gustav Holst’s Choral Hymns from the ‘Rig Veda.’ … The opening weekend … will also include Julia Perry’s ‘Stabat Mater’ and Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ … The second weekend … will [feature] two movements from Indian-American composer Reena Esmail’s song cycle ‘I Rise: Women in Song,’ for women’s chorus and chamber orchestra. [Also planned are] Copland’s ‘Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson,’ Maria Schneider’s ‘Winter Morning Walks’ and John Adams’ setting of Walt Whitman’s ‘The Wound-Dresser,’ a Civil War tribute to health care workers. The May Festival Youth Chorus … will [virtually] premiere a new commission from composer Robert Busiakiewicz and digital designer Stacey Fox, ‘singing/everything,’ inspired by writings of Gertrude Stein.”