The Kennedy Center

Popular/World Music

Featured this season 2

Upcoming Events

New Year's Eve at the Kennedy Center: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Tue, Dec 31, 2019

Ring in 2020 with a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin! Featuring Michelle Williams, Dionne Warwick, Bria Skonberg, Morgan James, Nova Payton, and Rayshun LaMarr. After the concert join us for the Grand Foyer party to dance the night away as we countdown to midnight.

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NSO Pops: Game ON!  featuring music from League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and more

Wed, Jan 8, 2020

Don’t miss this mesmerizing celebration of symphonic video game music in its world premiere! Game music legend Andy Brick conducts the NSO and The Washington Chorus in concert premieres from more than a dozen blockbuster video games—The Witcher 3, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, Bioshock, Sid Meier’s Civilization series, and many more—combining world-class symphonic arrangements with stunning in-game HD videos and never-before-seen concept art.

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NSO Pops: Diana Ross - Music Book 2020

Jan 9 – 11, 2020

Legendary entertainer and Kennedy Center Honoree Diana Ross returns to perform hits from her remarkable career!

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Juan Atkins, Godfather of Techno

Thu, Jan 30, 2020

Detroit techno fuses with contemporary sounds in an immersive, designed space, featuring performances by Grammy®-nominated ensemble Inscape.

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NSO Pops: Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson

Feb 13 – 15, 2020

The two multi-talented stars of the stage, screen, and music charts join forces with conductor and notable actor Damon Gupton and the NSO over Valentine’s Day weekend to celebrate songs from Broadway, film, and the American Songbook.

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WORLD STAGES—The Clemency of Titus (with Havana Lyceum Orchestra)

Feb 13 – 15, 2020

After stand-out performances at the Kennedy Center’s Artes de Cuba festival in 2018, the multi-award-winning Havana Lyceum Orchestra and one of Latin America’s most cutting-edge theater directors Carlos Diaz join forces for a Cuban adaptation of Mozart’s opera La Clemenza di Tito.

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Ekhodom and Mason Bates

Thu, Feb 27, 2020

Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton offers his visonary Ekhodom in an immersive, designed space, with DJing and new music by Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates.

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Pan American Symphony Orchestra presents Bossa Nova and Beyond

Sat, Feb 29, 2020

February is Carnival time and the Pan American Symphony Orchestra (PASO) takes you on a journey to Rio de Janeiro with the sensuous sounds of bossa nova and more!

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Norm Lewis

Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Following his acclaimed performance as Harold Hill in last season's Broadway Center Stage production of The Music Man, Tony® nominee Norm Lewis returns to the Kennedy Center for his own Renée Fleming VOICES concert!

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Forte—A Film by David Donnelly (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Thu, Mar 12, 2020

The REACH hosts the D.C. premiere of Forte, David Donnelly’s new film which challenges outdated notions of classical success and spotlights the strength of three diverse women.

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Ellen Reid / Roxie Perkins: p r i s m (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Mar 13 – 14, 2020

Witness the D.C. premiere of p r i s m, Ellen Reid’s surreal, haunting opera which explores the trauma of sexual abuse and the elasticity of memory that can follow in its wake. Set to a libretto by Roxie Perkins, p r i s m was recently recognized with both the Music Critics Association of North America’s “Best New Opera Award” and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music.

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Chris Thile: Live from Here (live national broadcast) (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Mar 14, 2020

Attend a live broadcast of Live from Here, American Public Media’s nationally syndicated, weekly variety show hosted by Chris Thile (of both Nickel Creek and the Punch Brothers). In this Concert Hall event, Thile welcomes an all-female lineup of exciting guest artists.

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Music Celebrations International Presents  2020 John Philip Sousa Band Festival

Sun, Mar 15, 2020

A Music Festival tribute to Bandmaster and Composer, John Philip Sousa, “The March King,” featuring four award-winning Wind Bands from throughout the United States!
This is a FREE event; please see ticket details below.

Fukiko Takase + Dustin O'Halloran: 1 0 0 1
Erica Rebollar: Variations

Thu, Mar 19, 2020

As we approach the age of AI, how will a new form of consciousness manifest inside a body? What will happen to our soul? 
Award winning composer Dustin O’Halloran (Marie Antoinette, Lion, Transparent) teams up with choreographer Fukiko Takase to explore ideas of technology, humanity, and mind-body dualism in 1 0 0 1, their new electronics-forward, existentialist performance piece inspired by Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell1 0 0 1 shares the program with Variations, an in-depth look at the “theme and variations” structure by Erica Rebollar.

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Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith, and Rebecca Foon (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Mar 21, 2020

DIRECT CURRENT’s mainstage season draws to a close with an evening of music and poetry from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame punk icon and National Book Award-winning poet Patti Smith; her daughter, the composer, instrumentalist and activist Jesse Paris Smith; and Canadian cellist and composer Rebecca Foon.

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Jeremy Kittle's Whorls with Joshua Roman and the Verona Quartet

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

Jeremy Kittel offers his melting pot of classical and folk music in an immersive, designed space, featuring performances from Joshua Roman and the Verona Quartet.

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Falun Dafa Association of D.C. presents SHEN YUN

Apr 7 – 12, 2020

Shen YunTake an enlightening journey through 5,000 years!

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Concerts for Young Audiences: The JoGo Project

Sat, Apr 18, 2020

JoGo Project is a funk, Hip Hop, and jazz ensemble based in Washington, D.C. dedicated to preserving and promoting D.C.'s indigenous music—Go-Go. Formed in 2014 by D.C. native and saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed, JoGo is known for high-energy performances, strong vocals, and one of the baddest percussionists around. Bring your dancing shoes and a towel—you'll need it! And don't forget, Jazz + Go-Go = JoGo.

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Michael Abels and Rob Garza

Thu, Apr 23, 2020

Thivery Corporation's Rob Garza combines psychedelic electronica with a string octet in an immersive, designed space. Plus, music from composer Michael Abels of the Academy Award®–winning film Get Out.

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Concerts for Young Audiences: Gaelynn Lea

Sat, Apr 25, 2020

"Velvet Underground meets Little House on the Prairie."—Jeremy Ylvisaker
In 2016, Gaelynn Lea won NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest, and she's been on the road ever since performing her unique mix of haunting original songs and traditional fiddle tunes. So far, the singer-songwriter and violinist has appeared in 43 states and 7 countries, gracing the stage at renowned venues like Nashville’s Music City Roots, House of Blues, BBC World News, and right here at the Kennedy Center.

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NSO Pops: Disney and Pixar’s Up in Concert

May 1 – 2, 2020

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2019, this animated classic comes back to the big screen with the NSO playing Michael Giacchino’s Oscar®- and Grammy®-winning score live to the film. 

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Mariza

Mon, May 4, 2020

In less than twelve years, Mariza has risen from a local phenomenon to one of the most widely acclaimed stars of the International Music circuit, seducing audiences worldwide with her breathtaking voice, charismatic stage presence, and powerful blend of traditional and contemporary song forms. Mariza’s career now proceeded with even greater success than ever, with multi-platinum album releases, and appearances on some of the most important stages in the world.

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NSO Pops: Bernstein's On the Town in Concert

Jun 25 – 28, 2020

Don’t miss the NSO in a show-stopping, semi-staged version of Leonard Bernstein’s first Broadway musical hit! The story follows the adventures of three sailors on 24-hour shore leave during WWII and features classic numbers such as “New York, New York,” “Lonely Town,” and “Some Other Time.”

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