piano image

2014 – 2015   Season

2014—2015 Season at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

The 21st Century Consort, award-winning contemporary music ensemble-in-residence at the Smithsonian Institution for three decades, embarks on its eighth 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 Elisabeth Adkins, Rick Barber, Paul Cigan, Lisa Emenheiser, Abigail Evans, Laurel Ohlson, Sara Stern, Rachel Young with guest vocalists Carmen Pelton, William Sharp, Deanne Meek and Lucy Shelton.

Tickets are THIS SEASON FREE, with a cash bar reception following the concert. Pick up your free tickets beginning at 3:30, and all who attend the 4:00 pre-concert discussion are guaranteed tickets. Past performances suggest that tickets 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.

  • Aviary

    The Consort celebrates the exhibition The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art with flights of musical imagination. The program features soprano Carman Pelton singing avian-obsessed music from the late 14th century and the past hundred years, a tribute to birds of all feathers.  Read the printed program now for this concert.

    Ars Subtilior
    Bird Pieces
    Oliver Messiaen
    Selected works
    Henri Dutilleux
    Thomas Albert
    Thirteen Ways


  • A Christmas Carol

    The return by popular demand of Jon Deak’s Dickensian classic of the season, with baritone William Sharp in his unforgettable role as Ebenezer Scrooge, preceded by Martin Goldsmith’s reading of another holiday favorite by Dylan Thomas interspersed among George Crumb’s etherial evocation of Giotto’s Christmas frescoes.

    Dylan Thomas
    A Child's Christmas in Wales
    George Crumb
    Little Suite for Christmas
    Jon Deak
    The Passion of Scrooge or a Christmas Carol


  • New York Nights

    Inspired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s extensive collection of New York cityscapes, this program features the world premiere of the complete “Algebra of Night,” Eugene O’Brien’s setting of New York and Night themed poetry sung by mezzo-soprano Deanne Meek. Charles Wuorinen’s epic musical evocation of the metropolis, Charles Wuorinen ode to the city, and a surprise encore follow.

    Eugene O'Brien
    Algebra of Night
    Robert Paterson
    Star Crossing
    Charles Wuorinen
    New York Notes


  • Worlds Away

    Reflecting on works from the exhibition The Artistic Journey of Yasuo Kuniyoshi and those of other artists who immigrated to America, the consort celebrates their artistic and musical contributions to the cultures of this country and the world. Featuring soprano Lucy Shelton in Unsuk Chin’s “Acrostic Wordplay-Seven Scenes from Fairy Tales” and a variety of works by composers from all corners of the globe.

    Toru Takemitsu
    And Then I Knew 'twas Wind
    Nicholas Maw
    Roman Canticle
    Kamran Ince
    Hammer Music
    Bright Sheng
    My Other Song
    Unsuk Chin
    Acrostic Wordplay - Seven Scenes from Fairy Tales


*Programs subject to change.