Press Reviews

Examples of reviews published in The Washington Post over the almost 50-year history of the 20th/21st Century Consort:

Not surprisingly, the 21st Century Consort did [Bernstein’s music] one better; this group reliably offers some of the best and most interesting programming in Washington.

— Anne Midgette, February 2018

Pianist Lisa Emenheiser earned every decibel of the ovation that erupted as she ended her marathon one-hour performance of Frederic Rzewski’s variations . . . It was an hour of the most intense music-making and pianism . . .

— Joan Reinthaler, February 2014

Throughout, the Consort musicians, all of whom play with the National Symphony Orchestra, were impeccable, creating textures that captured the mood of each different work.

— Charles Downey, February, 2013

. . . water is still inspiring some of the most interesting music of our time, as the 21st Century Consort demonstrated in a remarkable concert at the American Art Museum on Saturday titled, ‘Unruly Landscapes’.

— Stephen Brookes, October, 2012

Since its 1975 founding, the group has cherry-picked the best local talent . . . to perform its often risky repertoire: largely untested works by living composers, balanced with the occasional 20th Century crowd-pleaser like Copeland.

— Mike Paarlberg, February, 2012

So it was an inspired move by Christopher Kendall, the director of the 21st Century Consort, to put together a Steinberg-oriented concert at the museum on Saturday, premiering several works written for the occasion. Virtually all of it was as inventive and engaging as the art itself . . . Thomas Albert’s “Illuminations,” for sextet and tap dancer, was absolutely stunning.

— Stephen Brookes, April 2009

The 21st Century Consort is a crack group of instrumental and vocal forces committed to bringing contemporary music to the public. Saturday’s gripping performance at the Hirshhorn Museum was no exception.

— Cecilia Porter, November 2005

…“visual music” that was lyrical and timeless at the Washington National Cathedral.

— Tim Page, July 2005

The fact that the 20th Century Consort continues to attract substantial, knowledgeable and passionate audiences in the 21st is further proof of the group’s significance.

— Tim Page, November 2003

…taut, expert and altogether committed performances with a welcoming-indeed, downright homey-friendliness that is quite unusual in the rarefied world of contemporary classical music… one of the best concerts of the season.

— Tim Page, March 2003

It is colorful, melodious, ingenious and energetic music, and it got a brilliant performance… The performance sounded definitive.

— Joseph McLellan, February 2003

The 20th Century Consort, under artistic director Christopher Kendall, has programmed nine world premieres this year in celebration of the new millennium and the ensemble’s 25th season.

— Joan Reinthaler, January 2001

The 20th Century Consort introduced a significant new work in its concert Saturday at the Freer Gallery that should give pause to anyone doubting the lasting value of music being written today… Surely [composer] Maw, who was in attendance, couldn’t have wished for a more captivating and sympathetic interpretation.

— Thomas May, March 1998

…playing as they always do, a program carefully thought out and performed with virtuosity.

— Joseph McLellan, June 1997

…the ensemble’s diversity and hunger for new works remains hearteningly unchanged… Contemporary composers could wish no more eloquent advocacy than from this fine band of musicians.

— Joe Banno, October 1996

The choice of music and the performances were brilliant.

— Joseph McLellan, March 1996