Music Hall for May Festival Final Concerts

The 2016 May Festival, which celebrates and concludes Music Director James Conlon’s 37-year tenure, ends Friday and Saturday, May 27-28 with grand scale performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, May Festival Chorus and world-renowned soloists at Music Hall. These will be the final performances at Music Hall prior to its closing for renovation. On Friday, May 27 at 8 p.m., Mr. Conlon leads Dvořák’s deeply personal cantata, Stabat Mater. This rarely-performed work is full of symbolism, following a journey of mourning to hope of Paradise.

On Saturday, May 28 at 8 p.m., the Festival closes with one of the most epic works ever written for chorus, Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Performed at the second ever May Festival and telling the fiery tale of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah has remained a favorite among musicians, critics and audiences. Finally, Mr. Conlon completes the Festival with a traditional rendition “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.

Throughout the weekend, audience members will experience May Festival traditions such as pre-concert recitals with the soloists, fanfare trumpets, a May Pole in the lobby, and young flower presenters on stage during the applause. There will be opportunities for audience members to leave notes for Maestro Conlon in a memory box in the lobby at this weekend’s performances.

Music Hall information

Ticketholders to the performances on Friday and Saturday may add on a pre-concert tour (beginning at 6p.m.) of Music Hall for just $5. The tours are presented by the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, and can be booked by sending an email to

The 2016 May Festival be the final Festival (and the final performances by any organization) to take place in Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall prior to its planned renovation. The 2017 May Festival will take place at the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati while Music Hall is under construction, while the 2018 May Festival will be back in a newly-revitalized Music Hall.

Ticket Information

Single tickets for both concerts start at $12 and are available now. Call the Box Office at 513.381.3300 or visit for details and ordering.