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Popular/World Music

Featured this season 2

Upcoming Events


NSO Pops: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (film with live orchestra)

Jan 22 - Jan 24, 2019

The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar®-nominated score from Return of the Jedi performed live along with the full feature film.

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CPAA Productions Ltd Presents Image China: Xuanzang's Pilgrimage

Jan 25 - Jan 27, 2019

China Performing Arts Agency brings the U.S. premiere of Xuanzang's Pilgrimage to the Kennedy Center Opera House in January 2019.

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NSO Pops: An Evening with Brandy

Jan 25 - Jan 26, 2019

Following her acclaimed Broadway debut and Kennedy Center engagement as Roxie Hart in the Tony®-winning revival of Chicago, Brandy is the latest entertainer to join the NSO in exploring fascinating connections between R&B and symphony, following the likes of Ledisi, Boyz II Men, Fantasia, and many others. In her first collaboration with a live orchestra, the multi-platinum, Grammy®-winning singer/actress puts a twist on classics made famous by Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Etta James, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cook, and more.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Nellie McKay

Fri, Feb 8, 2019, 7:30 PM

The always-unpredictable singer-songwriter Nellie McKay is impossible to categorize, from doing Brecht on Broadway to creating tributes to the likes of Doris Day and Joan Rivers. Part cabaret, part sparkly pop, her music is as tuneful and clever as the best of the Great American Songbook.

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Washington Performing Arts presents: Living the Dream....Singing the Dream

Sun, Feb 17, 2019, 7:00 PM

For more than 25 years, Washington Performing Arts’s Gospel Choirs have shared the inspirational gift of gospel music with audiences throughout the D.C. region and beyond.

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NSO Pops: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (film with live orchestra)

Feb 21 - Feb 23, 2019

The National Symphony Orchestra presents John Williams’s iconic Oscar®-nominated score from The Force Awakens performed live along with the full feature film.

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Music Celebrations International Presents  2019 John Philip Sousa Band Festival

Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 2:00 PM

A Music Festival tribute to Bandmaster and Composer, John Philip Sousa, “The March King,” featuring bands from across the United States.


Bon Iver & TU Dance's Come Through (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Mon, Mar 25, 2019, 7:30 PM

This evening-length performance features new music from Justin Vernon, of indie folk band Bon Iver, and new choreography from TU Dance, known for works that combine modern dance and classical ballet with African-based and urban vernacular movements.

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Gabriel Kahane—Book of Travelers: 8980 (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Wed, Mar 27, 2019, 7:30 PM

The singer-songwriter performs his new song cycle with an evocative video backdrop, drawing on the conversations and stories Kahane gathered on an 8,980-mile trip just after the 2016 election. 

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Where We Lost Our Shadows (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 5:00 PM

The U.S. premiere of this video oratorio, by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun and Palestinian videographer Khaled Jarrar, documents the experience of refugees in Germany. This timely new work will be performed by vocalists Helga Davis and Ali Sethi, with Shayna Dunkelman on percussion and Joseph Young leading the Peabody Modern Orchestra. 

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I'm With Her
with Verona Quartet (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sun, Mar 31, 2019, 8:00 PM

Female folk supergroup I'm With Her is made up of Sara Watkins, a founding member of progressive bluegrass outfit Nickel Creek; Sarah Jarosz, a Grammy®-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; and Aoife O’Donovan, the Grammy®-winning lead singer of progressive string band Crooked Still. Special guests Verona Quartet will join them for select musical numbers. 

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Phantom Limb Company: Falling Out (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Apr 4 - Apr 5, 2019

Known for its marionette puppetry and multimedia theatrical production, New York's Phantom Limb Company has created a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in collaboration with butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka. The work is the company's final installment in an environmental trilogy exploring our changing relationship to nature over time.

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Moon Medicin (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Thu, Apr 4, 2019, 9:00 PM

This multimedia concept band, fronted by Harlem-based interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, performs original compositions and re-imagined covers against a backdrop of sound effects and images of sci-fi, punk, sacred geometry, coded symbology, film noir, minstrels, world politics, and ceremonial dance. 

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Du Yun with OK Miss  (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Fri, Apr 5, 2019, 9:00 PM

Du Yun— heralded as an “indie pop diva” by the New York Times—takes the stage with OK Miss, her own experimental band, for a set featuring excerpts from her musical Dim Sum Warriors.

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Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 8:00 PM

Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) is the first theatrical performance granted permission to explore and integrate the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. Reflecting deeply on the continued impact of the late visual artist's photography, the East Coast premiere of this theater piece by librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle and composer Bryce Dessner brings together choral ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and the poetry of Patti Smith and Essex Hemphill, with projections of Mapplethorpe’s breathtaking images.

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Caroline Shaw and Friends (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Apr 6, 2019, 9:00 PM

Composer Caroline Shaw, the versatile New York-based musician who is not only the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, but also a member of vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, is joined some of her musician friends in our intimate club-like venue. 

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Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 7:30 PM

The omnivorous string quartet joins forces with the acclaimed jazz singer to reinterpret classics from Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, celebrating such luminaries as Octavio Paz, Federico García Lorca, and Rubén Darío. 

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DC-CAP Presents DC-CAPital Stars and The British Invasion

Wed, Apr 10, 2019, 7:00 PM

The 2019 DC-CAPital Stars performance features the top ten finalists from the DC-CAPital Stars Talent Competition, held among DC's public and public charter high school students. Winners will be chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and the audience.

On Sale 1/26/2019


Renée Fleming VOICES: Patina Miller

Sat, Apr 27, 2019, 7:30 PM

Patina Miller’s star power transcends the divide between Hollywood and Broadway. On stage, she won the Tony Award® for Best Actress in a Musical for Pippin, On screen, she’s wowed with recurring roles in The Hunger Games and TV’s Madam Secretary.

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NSO Pops: An Evening with Leslie Odom Jr.

May 1 - May 3, 2019

Leslie Odom Jr.'s remarkable talents continue to inspire audiences across the globe, from his Tony®-winning role in Hamilton to singing “America the Beautiful” at the 2018 Super Bowl™. In his first collaboration with the NSO, he returns to the Kennedy Center with a sensational program combining Broadway and jazz classics, including songs from Rent, Spring Awakening, and a tribute to Nat King Cole.

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Silkroad Ensemble: Heroes

Sun, May 5, 2019, 4:00 PM

Heroes Take Their Stands is an evening-length, multimedia work in five parts, and a cycle of stories that spans time, space, and human experience.

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A Tribute to Jóhann Jóhannsson: Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein performing the music of Stranger Things with the Spektral Quartet

Wed, May 22, 2019, 8:00 PM

Renowned composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, known for their pioneering score to the acclaimed series Stranger Things, make their Kennedy Center debut showcasing their lush, retro-leaning sounds.

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NSO Pops: 50 Years Over the Rainbow: A Judy Garland Celebration

Jun 28 - Jun 29, 2019

Marking half a century to the week since the entertainment world lost one of its greatest treasures, the NSO and a trio of exceptional singers remember the immortal music and extraordinary cultural impact of Judy Garland—star of The Wizard of Oz, Easter Parade, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Star Is Born, and countless more.

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True North Presents: Michael W. Smith Live in Concert

Mon, Jul 1, 2019, 7:00 PM

Michael W. Smith performs on the Concert Hall stage in a special concert event, Honoring Freedom. 

On Sale 2/1/2019