The Kennedy Center

Direct Current

DIRECT CURRENT, the Kennedy Center's two-week celebration of contemporary culture, returns for a second season. Training its focus on new works, interdisciplinary creations in which artistic worlds collide, and innovative responses to topical concerns, the 2019 spring immersion showcases some of the most provocative, original, and pioneering voices in the arts today. DIRECT CURRENT takes place on March 24–April 7 at the Kennedy Center and beyond, extending throughout the District of Columbia through collaborations with a number of alternative venues, to expand the growing audience for contemporary culture in the nation’s capital.

Programming for the festival spans the artistic spectrum, from the world premiere of a new orchestral commission to Middle Eastern-jazz fusion, and bold new experiments in dance. This year’s lineup also boasts a strong showcase of work by female artists in everything from opera and contemporary classical to hip-hop and folk.

But DIRECT CURRENT is also about going beyond the stage to explore the issues and ideas at the heart of artists’ works. To support that mission, a number of programs in the festival will include talks with artists and prominent thought leaders, workshops, and supporting education events. In addition to the festival’s mainstage offerings, DIRECT CURRENT 2019 is introducing a new series of intimate performances with dynamic artists at the KC Jazz Club.

March 25
Bon Iver and TU Dance: Come Through
March 27
Gabriel Kahane: 8980: Book of Travelers
March 28-30
Bill T. Jones: Analogy Trilogy
March 29-30
Damien Woetzel: DEMO
March 30
National Symphony Orchestra: Lera Auerbach’s ARCTICA
March 31
Du Yun: Where We Lost Our Shadows
March 31
I’m With Her and Verona Quartet
April 1
Brooklyn Youth Chorus: “Silent Voices”: Lovestate
April 2
KC Jukebox: Chanticleer: “Sirens”
April 4
Sanford Biggers and Moon Medicin
April 4-5
Phantom Limb Company: “Falling Out”
April 5
Henry Threadgill: “Double Up Plays Double Up Plus”
April 6
Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
April 6-7
Vijay Iyer Sextet
April 7
Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera

DIRECT CURRENT takes Kennedy Center artists and programming out into the world beyond the traditional concert hall, reaching new audiences throughout the Washington area by means of innovative ongoing partnerships with a number of key alternative D.C. performance spaces and cultural groups. This season of DIRECT CURRENT includes a co-commission between the National Symphony Orchestra and National Geographic for Lera Auerbach's ARCTICA and a collaboration with Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics who will curate post-concert discussions for Phantom Limb Company’s “Falling Out.”

Offsite pop-up performances include composer-guitarist Mary Halvorson and saxophonist María Grand at the Phillips Collection (March 27) and Amanda Gookin at the Dupont Underground, presenting the Forward Music Project, for which Gookin commissioned new works encouraging social change and empowerment for women and girls (March 29). At the National Gallery of Art, Vijay Iyer teams up with pioneering cellist Matt Haimovitz for a program that juxtaposes Iyerʼs own compositions with a diverse array of works by Bach, Zakir Hussein, Ravi Shankar, and Billy Strayhorn (April 7).

As a part of DIRECT CURRENT, free live multi-genre performances curated specifically for the festival will be presented on the Millennium Stage and in other Kennedy Center theaters every day of the festival at 6 p.m.

March 24
March 25
Elder Ones / Amirtha Kidambi
March 26
March 27
Liberated Muse
March 28
Roscoe Mitchell with Moor Mother
March 29
Gabriel Mata and sjDANCEco
March 30
Hypercube Ensemble presented by Iranian Female Composers Association
March 31
Yuka C. Honda’s Revert to the Sea
April 1
Peabody Opera Theatre Program presents Laura Kaminsky’s As One
April 2
Gato Preto
April 3
Sister Nancy
April 4
J. Hoard
April 5
Tanya Tagaq
April 6
April 7
Brownout – The Keepers of Latin Funk

A festival celebrating contemporary culture must showcase new ideas and new art. To that end, DIRECT CURRENT in 2019 is proud to feature a number of notable commissions and premieres. On March 30, the National Symphony Orchestra gives the world premiere performance of ARCTICA: An Artistic Exploration, a new NSO co-commission from composer Lera Auerbach. The orchestral work was created in collaboration with Dr. Enric Sala (National Geographic’s Explorer-in-Residence, marine ecologist, and global conservationist) and is the centerpiece of Auerbach’s new multimedia project for which she traveled to the Arctic to collect stories, images, and sounds.

On March 31, DIRECT CURRENT hosts the U.S. premiere of Pulitzer-winning composer Du Yun and Palestinian videographer Khaled Jarrar's video oratorio, Where We Lost Our Shadows, which depicts the timeless struggle of human migration and celebrates the resilient human spirit. Finally on April 6, DIRECT CURRENT will present the East-Coast premiere of Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), which is a Kennedy Center co-commission. Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) features music by librettist Robert O’Hara and composer Bryce Dessner, a performance by Roomful of Teeth and Caroline Shaw, poetry by Essex Hemphill and others, with large-scale projections of imagery by the late visual artist and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Upcoming Events

Sorry there are no upcoming performances in this series.