Matthew Swanson Bio

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Matthew Swanson is the Associate Director of Choruses, the Director of the Youth Chorus, and the Director of Special Projects at the Cincinnati May Festival. He annually prepares the May Festival Chorus and Youth Chorus for performances with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras and for their featured appearances at the May Festival. Additionally, he develops and produces special projects for the May Festival in collaboration with local, regional, and national organizations.

Highlights of his tenure at the May Festival include the creation of an annual Youth Chorus commissioning project; the presentation of community choral concerts during the May Festival; a robust program of professional voice instruction, free to Chorus and Youth Chorus members; the Festival’s community choral podcast “Sing the Queen City”; and free in-school choral clinics for area middle and high schools. His portfolio of special projects at the May Festival has included staged productions of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS (2018) and Candide (2022), the formation of the May Festival Community Chorus, and 25 for 25, the May Festival’s 2023 collaborative commissioning project.  

Beyond the May Festival, his affiliations have included the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center (New York), Schola Antiqua (Chicago), and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. In the 2022-2023 season, he conducts the Xavier Choir and teaches choral methods and conducting at Xavier University, and he leads Vox Antiqua, an ensemble of the Early Music Lab at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (UC-CCM).

Matthew Swanson is a native of southeast Iowa. He earned an undergraduate degree in trumpet performance and American Studies at the University of Notre Dame, master’s degrees in choral conducting and choral studies from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and King’s College, Cambridge, respectively, and a doctorate of musical arts in conducting from UC-CCM. He was awarded the May Festival Choral Conducting Fellowship in 2015.

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