Oldest choral festival salutes director

March 8, 2004 at 10:27 AM
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CINCINNATI, March 8 (UPI) -- The Cincinnati May Festival, oldest of the nation's choral festivals, will celebrate James Conlon's 25 years as director this year.

This year's program will include classic masterpieces and the world premiere of a commissioned work by Stephen Paulus, it was announced Monday.

Steve Monder, executive director of the festival, said Conlon had established a world-class standard of performance during his tenure that will be exhibited in renditions of works by Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and George Frideric Handel during the upcoming festival. The choral work by Paulus is titled "All Things Are Passing,"

Conlon has provided artistic leadership for more May Festivals than any other director in the event's 131-year history. The festival is a joint operation of the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony and is held in Festival Hall, also the home of the Cincinnati Opera, on two weekends in May, opening this year May 21 and ending May 29.

A New York native and graduate of Julliard, Conlon has spent the major part of the last two decades in Europe serving as conductor of the Paris National Opera since 1995 and music director of the city of Cologne, Germany. He will take over the directorship of Chicago's Ravinia Festival beginning in 2005.

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