Features

Conlon’s swan song at May Festival’s helm has personal touch

Pieces look back on his 36 years as music director

By Rick Pender WCPO
May 16, 2016

Read on WCPO website here.

CINCINNATI—This year marks James Conlon’s 36th leading the Cincinnati May Festival — and his final year as its music director.

The 143-year-old May Festival, the oldest continuous choral celebration in the Western Hemisphere, returns May 20-28. It will be the final event at Cincinnati Music Hall before it closes for an 18-month, $125 million renovation.

Conlon, who becomes music director laureate, will continue to conduct at the festival occasionally. For his final official season as the May Festival maestro, he said, “I decided to program a festival that would invoke some of my fondest memories of Cincinnati.”

WCPO Insiders can read 9 ways this year’s festival repertoire is linked to James Conlon’s 36 years leading the western hemisphere’s oldest choral festival.

Photo: Chester Higgins

“He is a miracle of equilibrium: his dramatic intuition never fails, nor betrays the transparency of the music…In full command of his skills, Conlon exudes maturity to his fingertips.”

La Monde de la Musique