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May Festival: Voices of the Earth

  • May Festival Chorus
  • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars
  • Steiger Butte Singers of Chiloquin, Oregon

Celebrating the natural wonders of earth and the perseverance of miners in Pennsylvania coal country, this program reflects both the beauty and tragedy of humanity’s relationship with our planet. Natural History is a collaboration between composer Michael Gordon and the Steiger Butte Singers. Written and commissioned to mark the centennial of the National Park System, the piece poses the question: If Crater Lake National Park were a symphony, what would it sound like? The result is a surround-sound celebration of nature and the park’s spiritual connection to the surrounding community. In contrast, Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Anthracite Fields is a haunting and powerful oratorio that captures not only the sadness of lives lost in the anthracite coal fields at the turn of the 20th century, but a way of daily life now also lost. The Bang on a Can All-Stars lend their ferocity to this profound work alongside the May Festival Chorus.