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We are the 21st Century Consort

21st Century Consort Members 2020-2021 SeasonFounded 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.


Who we are…


Director's Corner

Greeting to everybody; we are looking forward so much to seeing you at our October 9 concert!

These days, composers sometimes produce “Midi” versions of pieces they’ve composed. To some, these electronic representations have become increasingly off-putting as they become better at replicating the actual sound of the music. Gene O’Brien says he dislikes midi about as much as I do, but produced one for us anyway. I’m glad he did: it manages to convey some of the challenge and stark power of his “Elegy to the Spanish Republic,” which we’ll be premiering on our upcoming concert and recording right after.

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