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2018 – 2019 Season

2018—2019 Season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The 21st Century Consort, award-winning contemporary music ensemble-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution for over four decades, embarks on its thirteenth season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Artistic Director Christopher Kendall presents a season of new music and high drama featuring artists Paul Cigan, Lisa Emenheiser, Dan Foster, Lee Hinkle, Alexandra Osborne, Sara Stern, and Rachel Young.

ATTENDANCE IS FREE. Seating begins at 3:30, and all who attend the 4:00 pre-concert discussion are guaranteed seats. Past performances suggest that seats will likely be available for all until the performance itself, at 5:00 pm.

All concerts are at 5:00, preceded by a 4:00 discussion with composers and performers, and followed by a post-concert reception.

  • “Sites Unheard”

    A sly musical take on the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s exhibition of artist Trevor Paglen, who makes the invisible world visible via photography and video, journalism, geo-politics, and astronautical engineering, documenting the infrastructures of American surveillance. The Consort surveils music by a select database of extant American composers.Read the printed program now for this concert.

    Annie Gosfield
    Lost Signals and Drifting Satellites
    Frederik Rzewski
    Winnsboro Cottonmill Blues
    Gemma Peacocke
    Robert Paterson
    Star Crossing
    Robert Gibson
    Night Music
    Jon Deak
    Greetings from 1984
    David Froom
    Hidden Motives


  • “Between Worlds”

    Bill Traylor is one of the most celebrated American self-taught artists, whose life spanned slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the Great Migration and foreshadowed the era of Civil Rights, offering a rare perspective to the large story of America. The Consort’s music probes subjects and stories that inhabit Traylor’s remarkable work.

    David Baker
    Clarinet Sonata
    Very Young Composers
    New works
    Carlos Oliver Simon
    Likety Split
    Frederic Rzewski
    Down by the Riverside
    T.J. Anderson
    Evan Chambers
    Come Down Heavy!


  • “All You Need is Love”

    Well, maybe it’s not ALL you need; a little music is also good. For Valentine’s Day, the Consort digs deep to find contemporary classical music that explores the subject of romance viewed from multiple vantage points, in a program that ends with a Valentine surprise.

    Melinda Wagner
    Romanza with Faux Variations
    Jeffrey Mumford
    An Evolving Romance
    Maurice Wright
    Scott Wheeler
    Hilary Purrington
    Mean Reds
    Nicolas Maw
    La Vita Nuova


  • “Black Angels”

    A harrowing and formative period for many in America, 1965-1975 is the subject of SAAM’s exhibition “America and the Vietnam War.” The Consort mounts a musical corollary with works that speaks to the tenor of the times and the themes that still radiate from them.

    James Primosch
    Times Like These
    Susan Botti
    River Spirits
    Eugene O’Brien
    Elegy to the Spanish Republic
    George Crumb
    Black Angels


*Programs subject to change.