Juanjo Mena to Lead the 150th Cincinnati May Festival with New Commissions and Mahler’s Eighth Symphony

May 2023

Principal Conductor Juanjo Mena will close the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Cincinnati May Festival, the longest-running choral festival in North America, with a performance of Mahler’s mighty Eighth Symphony. He will be joined on stage by forces of over 350 musicians, including the May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and a stellar cast of soloists, for one of the largest-scale works ever written for orchestra and chorus.

The Festival starts on 19th May with Bach’s Magnificat, which received its American premiere at the May Festival in 1875, nearly 150 years after it was written. As well as a theme of looking back at the important works that have been premiered at the Festival, Mena also wanted to ensure that there will be a significant legacy to this celebratory year. Works by James Lee III and James MacMillan will receive their own world premieres before the Magnificat, and there will be many more new works introduced to Cincinnati’s audiences throughout the festival.

This will also mark Mena’s final season as Principal Conductor; he concludes his pivotal six-year tenure of the May Festival, during which he has expanded the commissioning of new works and put the Cincinnati community at the heart of the Festival.

You can read more information and full listings of the 2023 May Festival here.