21st Century Consort

Founded 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.

To read more about us, click here. And to see our full concert season, click here.

  • Quinquagenerians

    at 5pm on Saturday April 62024

    at Hirshhorn Museum’s Ring Auditorium – the Hirshhorn’s 50th anniversary, which anticipates the 21st Century Consort’s 50th season in 2024-25, is the impetus for a program featuring mid-20th century classics paired with new compositions, paralleling the exhibition’s art. Over the following season, plan an extended celebration of these two redoubtable institutions of contemporary art and music reaching the half-century mark. For the Consort, it will be an opportunity to revisit works the ensemble has championed, along with new musical creations.

  • Singular Beauty
    Sandwiched between mother and daughter ceramicists, I’ve been thrilled that a master of that under-appreciated medium has achieved Simone Leigh’s place of recognition in the art world. The 21st Century Consort