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Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati May Festival

Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street


(May 11-19, 2012) Begun in 1873, the May Festival’s remarkable longevity is on display each year for two performance-intensive weekends dedicated to choral music. The festival is reflective of Cincinnati’s abiding devotion to musical life: the city’s Music Hall was built expressly for the May Festival, and the festival’s Chorus, initiated in 1880, is comprised of volunteer musicians and accompanied by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Guest performers have included conductor James Levine, mezzo-sopranos Deborah Voight and Stephanie Blythe, and tenors Ben Heppner, Salvatore Licitra and Lawrence Brownlee. The May Festival’s performance repertoire includes a high concentration of choral masterworks like Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Verdi’s Requiem, and Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, supplemented by works by composers such as Palestrina, Tallis, Poulenc, and Messiaen. Recitals that precede each concert are free for ticket holders. (DK)

Cincinnati May Festival Information

  • Other Venue: Saint Mary’s Cathedral (1140 Madison Avenue, Covington, KY)
  • Public Transportation: Good for both venues. Music Hall (a short walk from Metro buses 21 and 64 at Elm Street/West 14th Street; buses 1, 6, 20, and 49 at West Central Parkway/Ezzard Charles Drive; and buses 46, 67, and 78 at Race Street/West 14th Street). Saint Mary’s Cathedral (a short walk from Tank Bus routes 7 and 28x at Madison Avenue/East 11th Street; and routes 9, 25, and 33 at Scott Boulevard/East 11th Street)
  • Handicapped Accessibility: Good at both venues
  • Performances/Programs: 4-5 concerts per season
  • Ticket Prices: $25–$115 depending on date and seating selection
  • Subscriptions: 2-concert $35–$210; 4-concert $70–$390; Festival pass (4 flex tickets) $170–$220
  • Membership: Shareholder ($50–$99); Quartet ($100–$299); Trio ($300–$499); Duo ($500–$999); Soloist ($1,000–$4,999); Ensemble ($5,000–$9,999); Chorus ($10,000+). Member benefits are tiered, with every member receiving membership in the Cincinnati Musical Festival Association; invitations to the CMFA Annual Meeting; invitations to an Open-Dress Rehearsal; program listing and acknowledgment in the May Festival Season Souvenir Program; and more.