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We are the 21st Century Consort

21st Century Consort Members 2020-2021 SeasonFounded in 1975 as the 20th Century Consort, the group became a resident ensemble at the Smithsonian Institution three years later. In its concerts at historic St. Mark’s on Capitol Hill, at the Hirshhorn Museum and at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Consort has presented exciting programs frequently related to museum exhibitions, featuring music by a diverse array of living composers - often world premieres - along with 20th century classics.

Under the direction of its founder and conductor, Christopher Kendall, the Consort’s artists include members of the National Symphony Orchestra and other prominent chamber musicians from Washington, D.C. and elsewhere. The ensemble is managed by Boyd Sarratt.

For over forty-five years the Consort’s concerts have been professionally recorded and archived, complementing the Consort’s produced studio recordings. This vast, living archive is permanently preserved at the University of Maryland, and can be heard without charge on our archive page, where it can be searched for any concert, composition or composer.

Who we are…


Director's Corner


Dear friends,

Among the gifts of long life, for an ensemble like the Consort, we are acquainted with composers for decades, listening to their voices change and develop. Of course, this kind of longevity also means outlasting some of these colleagues. One such, whose music the Consort has been lucky to perform for almost 40 years is Jim Primosch. Jim passed away on April 26, following a long and courageous struggle with pancreatic cancer. He joins Stephen Albert, Nicholas Maw and other, great composers and dear friends who left us too soon, but have left us radiant legacies of music.

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