21st Century Consort Artistic Director
Christopher Kendall is the recipient of the Smithson Medal as the conductor and artistic director of the 21st Century Consort. The group began at the Smithsonian under Kendall’s direction at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in the 1970s, where it is currently in residence, presenting an annual season of concerts frequently linked to the Museum’s exhibitions and collection. The ensemble has also performed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival USA, on tour nationally, and on record for the Bridge, ASV, Centaur, Innova, Delos, Nonesuch, CRI and Smithsonian Collection labels. The recipient of numerous Wammie Awards and consistent critical acclaim under Kendall’s direction, the Consort's televised performance of music by Aaron Copland won an Emmy Award in 1984.
Prior to his appointment as Dean and Professor of Conducting at the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance from 2005 to 2015, Kendall had served as Director of the School of Music at the University of Maryland since 1996. Previously, he was Director of the Music Division of the Boston University School of the Arts, and Music Director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. He assumed the Boston post following a five-year term as Associate Conductor of the Seattle Symphony, where he led that orchestra in subscription and special concerts of repertoire from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.
Kendall is also the founder and co-director, and served for 44 years as lutenist of the Folger Consort, early-music ensemble-in-residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The group performs extensively in Washington, D.C. and has toured and broadcast nationally and internationally. He also served as music director of the Washington Symphonia and artistic director of Millennium, Inc., a multi-disciplined chamber music production company producing music history films and concerts at the Kennedy Center and the Martha’s Vineyard Music Festival featuring the Folger Consort, Emerson String Quartet and 20th Century Consort.
Kendall's guest conducting appearances have included the Seattle Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Kitchner-Waterloo Symphony (Canada), San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Music Today, Collage New Music, Dinosaur Annex, New York Chamber Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the Orchestra, Symphony and Chamber Orchestra of the Juilliard School.