Cincinnati May Festival plans full-scale return in 2022, with premieres by Jessie Montgomery and Gwyneth Walker

Posted on: January 7, 2022

Juanjo Mena leads the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati May Festival Chorus, before the pandemic.

“The Cincinnati May Festival will return with full choral and orchestral forces and an ambitious schedule of choral masterpieces over two weekends in Music Hall this spring,” writes Janelle Gelfand in Thursday’s (1/6) Cincinnati Business Courier (OH). “Because of Covid, the May Festival’s season was canceled in 2020 and vastly reduced in 2021. Founded in 1873, [the festival] is anchored by the 120-voice May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra…. This year’s programs will feature John Adams conducting his own Nativity oratorio, ‘El Nino’ … as well as [Principal Conductor Juanjo] Mena leading a program of music by South American composers Alberto Ginastera, Heitor Villa-Lobos and Antonio Estévez…. The festival will culminate in Beethoven’s epic Ninth Symphony [and] the premiere of [Jessie Montgomery’s] ‘I Have Something to Say’ … an imagined interaction between American abolitionist Sojourner Truth and contemporary environmental activist Greta Thunberg…. It is a co-commission of the May Festival and the Cathedral Choral Society (Washington, D.C.)…. The Youth Chorus and the Xavier Choir will present the world premiere of Gwyneth Walker’s ‘When Music Sounds,’ commissioned by the May Festival Youth Chorus and written during the height of the pandemic.”