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The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center Announces 2019–2020

Season Highlights

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We're excited to announce programming for the 2019–2020 Jazz season

The Center’s 2019–2020 Jazz season, its eighth presented under Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran, is designed to showcase the art form’s evolution with legendary jazz figures, contemporary leaders, and rising stars. Highlights include concerts celebrating the 20th anniversary of his trio The Bandwagon; performances in the Center’s new campus expansion, the REACH; and appearances by Cyrus Chestnut, Ahmad Jamal, Jazzmeia Horn, Flying Lotus, and many others.

Jazz

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Joe Chambers, M'Boom

Fri, Oct 4 , 2019

In 1970, iconic drummer and activist Max Roach organized the collective known as M’Boom; a unique unit of percussionists on marimba, xylophone, tympani, vibes, bells, gongs, drum sets, and even a musical saw. For one night only, original M’Boom member Joe Chambers gathers three of today’s best percussionists—Ray Mantilla, Warren I. Smith, and Bobby Sanabria, along with the 16-piece Moving Pictures Orchestra and vocalist Mavis Swan Poole—for a lively performance.

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Dorado Schmitt and The Django Festival Allstars
featuring Samson Schmitt, Amati Schmitt, Ludovic Beier, Pierre Blanchard

Fri, Nov 1 , 2019

The fearsomely talented Django Festival Allstars are back by popular demand with the high-energy “hot jazz” stylings of legendary Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. 

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Jason Moran and The Bandwagon + Ingrid Laubrock, Black Stars

Sat, Nov 9 , 2019

Join Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran and his bandmates, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their superlative, chance-taking trio, The Bandwagon. They’ll reflect on their musical journey in a special series of performances across the building with some of their most creative friends.

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The Kojo Odu Roney Experience featuring Antoine Roney

Sat, Nov 16 , 2019

By the age of four, drum prodigy Kojo Roney could play confidently with established ensembles. At eight, he began a professional career with his first tour in Europe. And at only 10 years old, he had shared the stage with jazz greats such as Buster Williams, Darrell Green, Billy Spaceman Paterson, Brandee Younger, and his father, Antoine Roney. Now, the teen phenom makes his Kennedy Center debut as this season’s first Discovery Artist!

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NPR's A Jazz Piano Christmas

Sat, Dec 7 , 2019

Join us for a twist on your favorite holiday classics! The Kennedy Center and NPR present A Jazz Piano Christmas, the holiday tradition and annual sell-out featuring today’s best jazz pianists performing their favorite seasonal music.

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Art Ensemble of Chicago
50th Anniversary

Sat, Dec 14 , 2019

Celebrate 50 years of the radically experimental Art Ensemble of Chicago! Founder and newly announced NEA Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell revamps his vision, commemorating the group’s 50th anniversary with a concert event featuring elaborate costumes, theater, dance, and more; always challenging the notion of what a performance should be.

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A Jazz New Year's Eve: Branford Marsalis

Tue, Dec 31 , 2019

Ring in 2020 in style when our always popular A Jazz New Year’s Eve returns to the Terrace Theater! This year stars jazz royalty Branford Marsalis, who has released more than 30 albums as a bandleader and saxophonist, racking up 16 Grammy® nominations and taking home three. Your ticket includes the Grand Foyer Party, a night packed with festive dancing to great bands, a countdown to midnight, a big balloon drop, and more!

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Jazzmeia Horn

Sat, Jan 18 , 2020

After graduating from the Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program in 2013, Jazzmeia Horn went on to win first prize at the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition and the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Award. But her star-making performance of “Moanin’” at the 2018 Grammy Awards® (where her debut release received a Best Jazz Vocal Album nomination), let the rest of the world know just who she is. Don’t miss her anticipated return—this old-school soul is the future of jazz!

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Elijah Jamal Balbed Quintet: The Karma Suite

Thu, Jan 23 , 2020   7:30 PM

Award-winning saxophonist, educator, Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead graduate, and Washington, D.C. native Elijah Jamal Balbed is best known as a performing musician around town, having played with the likes of Cyrus Chestnut, Lalah Hathaway, Eric Benet, Dr. John, and the late, great Chuck Brown. He’s also deeply rooted into D.C.'s indigenous genre—Go-Go. Join Balbed and his quintet for an evening of music from their newest album, The Karma Suite.

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Kassa Overall's "Blue Swamini" featuring Carmen Lundy

Sat, Jan 25 , 2020

Coming off a long run DJing with Jon Batiste and the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, New York–based drummer, rapper, producer, and all-around Renaissance man Kassa Overall is making the switch to full-time front-man. His genre-bending new project “Blue Swamini” pays tribute to the late, great Alice Coltrane, channeling her spirituality through African American blues. Kennedy Center favorite Carmen Lundy joins the program, demonstrating why the Evening Standard declares, “In a world of pretenders, Carmen Lundy is a genuine jazz singer.”

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Linda May Han Oh, Aventurine

Thu, Feb 6 , 2020   7:30 PM

Linda May Han Oh’s critically-acclaimed recent album, Aventurine, fuses left-field jazz, string quartet, and choir. Its genius recently moved an NPR critic to write, “Beyond her authority and dynamic presence as a bassist, Oh has become a first-rate bandleader and composer.” A supreme supporter of the jazz community, she’s racked up impressive credits collaborating with artists like Pat Metheny, Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, the late Geri Allen, and Terri Lyne Carrington. Time and time again, this young Australian powerhouse proves why her talent is so sought after.

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Ahmad Jamal

Sat, Feb 8 , 2020   8:00 PM

Ahmad Jamal may be the last original jazzman. Though he now has a key on the piano for each year of life, Jamal’s performances are as fresh as ever with his delicate touch, taste for sweet comping chords, and knack for ingenious improvisations. The two-time Grammy® nominee has developed a wide following among mainstream audiences, longtime music lovers, and jazz legends—even now, there’s simply no one who plays quite like Jamal.

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Jason Moran and The Bandwagon + Cassandra Wilson & Marvin Sewell

Fri, Feb 28 , 2020   8:00 PM

Join Jason Moran and his bandmates, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits, as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of their superlative, chance-taking trio, The Bandwagon. They’ll reflect on their musical journey with a special concert experience featuring some of their most creative friends: singer/songwriter Cassandra Wilson and blues/jazz guitarist Marvin Sewell.

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Jason Palmer, “Upward”

Sat, Feb 29 , 2020   7:30 PM

In 2018, trumpeter/educator/composer Jason Palmer and pianist/composer Kevin Harris interviewed a very special group of Boston mothers who had lost their children to gun violence. “Upward” their new multimedia presentation in which musicians transcribe tones and melodic flow to these courageous women’s words and stories, with the intent of honoring and celebrating the legacy of their loved ones in addition to bringing awareness to the need to end such acts in our community.

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Jaimie Branch's Fly or Die (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Wed, Mar 11 , 2020   7:30 PM

Rolling Stone says Jaimie Branch sounds like “Art Ensemble of Chicago jamming at an art-punk loft.” For more than a decade, the Brooklyn–based trumpeter/composer has joined diverse acts like William Parker, Spoon, TV on the Radio, and Bell Orchestre, always down to play with anyone from jazz masters to doom metal bands. Now, she’s touring with music from her critically acclaimed sophomore album FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise, a sharply focused work that’s “highly sensitive, a bit stormy, and completely brilliant” (Free Jazz Collective).

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Jazz Doodle Jam! Jason Moran & Bandwagon + Mo Willems

Mar 13 - Mar 14, 2020

Jazz Doodle Jam! is an intimate jazz concert where you collaborate with the band! Sit down at a table covered with paper, grab a marker or crayon, and join host and Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems for a new kind of participatory musical experience. Kids and grown-ups doodle to music played onstage by Jason Moran and The Bandwagon. The band reacts and improvises to the audience’s explorations, jamming together with pictures and music, blurring the lines between artists and audience!

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Camila Meza and the Nectar Orchestra (part of DIRECT CURRENT)

Sat, Mar 14 , 2020   7:30 PM

Arriving on the New York jazz scene in 2009 from her native Chile, singer/guitarist Camila Meza made a name for herself immediately, delivering what the New York Times describes as “an appealing combination of lightness and depth to all material... Her improvising, on electric or acoustic guitar, is serious business.” Drawing inspiration from American jazz, Latin American music, and popular songs across decade and genre, Meza wows audiences with her rare combination of talents: fantastic singing, complex guitar work, and vivid musical storytelling. She’ll be performing music from her newest recording, Ámbar.

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Immanuel Wilkins

Sat, Mar 21 , 2020

Despite his youth, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader Immanuel Wilkins has already toured the world. He’s worked and recorded with Jason Moran, Solange Knowles, Bob Dylan, Gerald Clayton, the Count Basie Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, and many more icons of the industry. A recent graduate of Julliard, Wilkins is already poised for great things.

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Clarence Penn, Penn Station

Thu, Apr 9 , 2020   7:30 PM

Since beginning his professional career at 15, versatile drum master Clarence Penn has toured, performed, and recorded with a diverse who's who, including Roberta Flack, Dizzy Gillespie, Dianne Reeves, Wyclef Jean, Ellis and Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter, and Cyrus Chestnut. Witness his technical mastery and interpretation of classical, hard-bop, funk, experimental, and jazz styles.

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Cyrus Chestnut, The Saga of the Cross

Fri, Apr 10 , 2020   8:00 PM

Baltimore native, Howard University professor, and pianist Cyrus Chestnut is known for swinging us right to church, and his talent for mixing jazz, spirituals, hymns, and down-home blues is apparent in his most recent composition. On Good Friday, the Concert Hall transforms for The Saga of the Cross, Cyrus’s large-scale service complete with gospel choirs, African drum troupes, jazz ensembles, a full pipe organ, and more. It’s a celebration of community, of African American culture, and of a D.C. jazz master.

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Laurin Talese

Wed, Apr 15 , 2020

"Some of the most luxuriant, sumptuously phrased jazz vocals you could hope to hear.”
Chicago Tribune

For Laurin Talese, winner of the 2018 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, jazz is a profound, cinematic experience. The naturally gifted and remarkably well-trained singer has been astounding audiences and critics since the age of 10, and has now shared the stage with big-name artists like Bilal, Gregory Porter, Patti LaBelle, Robert Glasper, Vivian Green, and others.

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René Marie

Sat, Apr 18 , 2020   7:30 PM

René Marie, a "jazz singer with the talent, the imgaination, and the sheer presence to be included in the very top level of performers" (The Los Angeles Times), joins Renée Fleming's VOICES series in an unforgettable and intimate performance. In her 20-year career as a singer, Rene Marie has portrayed Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington on stage and earned a Grammy nomination for her album I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt.

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Jason Moran's Fats Waller Dance Party

Sat, Apr 25 , 2020

Nearly 90 years ago, jazz music was party music. Jazz got people moving, whether played uptown or downtown in Depression-era juke joints across the country. The legendary Fats Waller—and his ability to get everyone on the dance floor—helped make the movement happen. Jason Moran keeps Waller’s life-of-the-party spirit alive in this multimedia/dance party event, reimagining the Harlem pianist’s hits as Afrobeat, funk, house music, and more modern grooves.

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Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival: Silver Anniversary

May 8 - May 9, 2020

For 25 years, the Kennedy Center has paid tribute to legendary jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981). On May 8, the Kennedy Center celebrates the 70th Birthday of an artist who performed at the first Williams Festival in 1996, host and NEA Jazz Master Dee Dee Bridgewater. Join Dee Dee as she takes the stage to perform with a select group of her closest friends in a birthday bash not-to-be missed. On May 9, the Festival continues with the featured supergroup, Artemis, with Renee Rosnes, Noriko Ueda, Allison Miller, Melissa Aldana, Ingrid Jensen, and Anat Cohen. Celebrate the life and work of Mary Lou Williams—who blazed a trail by overcoming industry gender and racial discrimination with a fearless devotion to musical innovation and creativity. A full line-up will be announced at a later date.

Comedy

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The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2019

In an evening of off-the-cuff comedy, this critically acclaimed Chicago-based ensemble creates a fully improvised Shakespearean masterpiece right before your eyes, based on a single audience member's suggestion for the title of a show that's never been written before... until now.  

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NEMR

Sat, Oct 5 , 2019

Nemr is a Lebanese/American stand-up comedian who is credited with establishing and pioneering the stand-up comedy scene throughout the Middle East.  “Smart…Sophisticated…Powerful…and Hilarious”–Rolling Stone Middle East

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Marc Maron

Fri, Oct 11 , 2019   8:00 PM

For over thirty years, Marc Maron has been writing and performing comedy for print, stage, radio, online, and television. Best known for his hit landmark podcast, WTF with Marc Maron, he has interviewed iconic personalities such as Conan O’Brien, Robin Williams, Keith Richards, Ben Stiller, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lorne Michaels, and former US President Barack Obama.

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David Sedaris

Tue, Oct 15 , 2019   8:00 PM

Award-winning humor writer and master of satire David Sedaris returns to the Kennedy Center. “Sedaris’s droll assessment of the mundane and the eccentrics who inhabit the world’s crevices make him one of the greatest humorists writing today.”—Chicago Tribune

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22nd Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebrating Dave Chappelle

Sun, Oct 27 , 2019   8:00 PM

An outstanding lineup of entertainers will gather in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to salute Dave Chappelle, recipient of the 22nd annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on October 27, 2019. 

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Nick Offerman

Fri, Nov 1 , 2019   7:00 PM

All Rise is an evening of deliberative talking and light dance that will compel you to chuckle whilst enjoining you to brandish a better side of humanity than the one to which we have grown accustomed.

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No Such Thing as a Fish

Sun, Nov 10 , 2019

Now in its fifth year, No Such Thing as a Fish is at the forefront of the British podcast scene. For anyone with a thirst for knowledge, a taste for puns, and a need for some belly-laughs, this is an unmissable show.

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Janeane Garofalo

Fri, Nov 15 , 2019

Actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo makes her Kennedy Center debut.

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The Second City's Love, Factually

Dec 3 - Dec 29, 2019

Back by popular demand! From the twisted minds at The Second City comes this fast-paced romp that mingles the classic movie’s most beloved (and despised) characters and moments in an original take sure to warm your icy heart.

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Maz Jobrani

Fri, Jan 31 , 2020   8:00 PM

Iranian American comedian and actor Maz Jobrani returns to the Kennedy Center.

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RIOT!

Sun, Mar 8 , 2020   8:00 PM

After a sold out performance in 2018, RIOT! is back with another special evening of stand-up comedy and music.

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Made in Puerto Rico

Apr 2 - Apr 3, 2020

Made in Puerto Rico is a show about family, music, and cultural identity starring former attorney-turned-comedian Elizardi ("Eli") Castro.  

NSO Pops

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NSO Pops: Jim James—The Order of Nature: A Song Cycle

Wed, Sep 4 , 2019   8:00 PM

The eclectic frontman and founder of indie-rock band My Morning Jacket teams up with conductor Teddy Abrams for a special performance of their orchestral song cycle The Order of Nature featuring vocal chorus The Capital Hearings. The first half of the evening features Mason Bates performing his Warehouse Medicine from The B-Sides, Julia Wolfe’s Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, and Copland’s Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo.

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NSO Pops: Maxwell: A Night at the Symphony

Sep 18 - Sep 21, 2019

The multi-Grammy® winner has artfully managed to transfix music lovers for more than two decades with songs ranging from “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” and “Pretty Wings” to “Lake by the Ocean.” Maxwell redefined soul music with his acclaimed debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, and this year releases the final installment of his blacksummers’NIGHT trilogy.
NOTE: Please see important details below about VIP Package merchandise and ticket pick-up.

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NSO Pops: Nat King Cole at 100

Oct 17 - Oct 19, 2019

Celebrate the centennial of the late, great American music legend with a concert showcasing his seminal talents as a vocalist, pianist, and trailblazing icon. Conductor Michael Butterman leads the NSO and an all-star band in such timeless songs as “Unforgettable,” “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” “Mona Lisa,” “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” “Smile,” “L-O-V-E,” and more with a stellar cast of vocalists including Patti Austin, Freddy Cole, Dulé Hill, and BeBe Winans. Music direction by Grammy® Award-winning drummer, composer, and bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington.

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NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix™ in Concert

Nov 29 - Dec 1, 2019

Year Five begins! Between crushing on Cho Chang, studying for his O.W.L.s, and the ever-growing number of detentions from Professor Umbridge™, Harry Potter™ must find the time to discover the secret of his terrible nightmares. Experience the film in HD on a giant screen with composer Nicholas Hooper’s score played live by the NSO.

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NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! with Leslie Odom, Jr.

Dec 13 - Dec 14, 2019

Our annual tradition, complete with Santa, the joyful voices of The Choral Arts Society of Washington, and even “snow!” Warm your spirit with fresh takes on comforting classics and sing-along favorites in the festively decorated Concert Hall. This year, we welcome Leslie Odom, Jr., whose 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™.

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NSO Pops: Game ON!

Wed, Jan 8 , 2020   8:00 PM

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 combining unrivaled, world-class symphonic arrangements with stunning in-game HD videos and never-before-seen concept art.

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NSO Pops: Diana Ross

Jan 9 - Jan 11, 2020

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

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NSO Pops: Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson

Feb 13 - Feb 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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NSO Pops: Disney•Pixar’s Up in Concert

May 1 - May 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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NSO Pops: Bernstein's On the Town in Concert

Jun 25 - Jun 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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NSO Pops: Amos Lee

Tue, Jun 30 , 2020   8:00 PM

American singer-songwriter Amos Lee—whose musical influences span folk, rock, blues, and soul—joins the NSO Pops for a one-night-only show featuring songs from his latest album, My New Moon. His seventh album, My New Moon reaches into experiences of hope, hopelessness, loss, and renewal. The result is the most wide-ranging musical effort of his career, a set of songs examining issues of mortality, survival, connection, and celebration in ways that are both deeply personal and profoundly universal.

Renée Fleming VOICES

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NSO Pops: Maxwell: A Night at the Symphony

Sep 18 - Sep 21, 2019

The multi-Grammy® winner has artfully managed to transfix music lovers for more than two decades with songs ranging from “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” and “Pretty Wings” to “Lake by the Ocean.” Maxwell redefined soul music with his acclaimed debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, and this year releases the final installment of his blacksummers’NIGHT trilogy.
NOTE: Please see important details below about VIP Package merchandise and ticket pick-up.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi

Thu, Sep 26 , 2019   7:30 PM

MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and Nashville star Rhiannon Giddens performs music from her latest album, there is no Other, with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi. Tracked over an intensely productive five-day period in Dublin, Ireland, there is no Other is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Gavin Creel

Thu, Oct 3 , 2019   7:30 PM

Gavin made his Broadway debut originating the role of Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie, earning him his first Tony® nomination. He has since received a Tony Award® for his performance as Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce, and starred on Broadway as Jean-Michel in La Cage Aux Folles and Claude in Hair.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Joyce DiDonato

Nov 8 - Nov 9, 2019

"In the midst of chaos, how do you find peace?"
One of opera's most outspoken and impassioned personalities, multi-Grammy Award®–winner Joyce DiDonato presents music from her new album In War & Peace - Harmony through Music. This new selection of arias from Handel and Purcell, among other great opera masters, conveys how powerfully Baroque opera explores the extremes of human nature and the eternal search for serenity. Join DiDonato on this unique and timely journey with prize-winning orchestra Il Pomo d'Oro, under the direction of Maxim Emelyanychev.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Norm Lewis

Sat, Feb 29 , 2020   8:00 PM

Tony®-nominee Norm Lewis, recently seen in NBC's Emmy®-winning broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” joins Renée Fleming VOICES for a spellbinding showcase of his remarkable talent and charisma. He's starred in Broadway's Porgy & BessThe Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who’s Tommy, and made history as the first African American Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera.  His television credits include The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Gotham, The Blacklist, and Blue Bloods, as well as his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on the hit drama Scandal.

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René Marie

Sat, Apr 18 , 2020   7:30 PM

René Marie, a "jazz singer with the talent, the imgaination, and the sheer presence to be included in the very top level of performers" (The Los Angeles Times), joins Renée Fleming's VOICES series in an unforgettable and intimate performance. In her 20-year career as a singer, Rene Marie has portrayed Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington on stage and earned a Grammy nomination for her album I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Mariza

Mon, May 4 , 2020   7:30 PM

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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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Emerson String Quartet and Renée Fleming

Thu, May 14 , 2020   7:30 PM

The Grammy Award®–winning Emerson String Quartet reunites with Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large Renée Fleming for another “rapturous recital” (The Washington Post).  At the center of the evening is Penelope, a new monodrama inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey from the Academy Award®–winning composer André Previn and libretto by playwright Tom Stoppard.

Theater

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What the Constitution Means to Me

Sep 11 - Sep 22, 2019

Heidi Schreck’s timely and galvanizing play, directed by Oliver Butler, became a sensation off-Broadway last fall before transferring to Broadway this spring and receiving two Tony Award® nominations (Best Play, Best Actress in Leading Role in a Play). 

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Cats

Sep 17 - Oct 6, 2019

Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater, "Memory.”

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Shear Madness

Ongoing

Set today in the Shear Madness hairstyling salon, this record-breaking comedy is Washington's hilarious whodunit. After more than 13,200 performances, the show has stayed in great shape. Performances are ongoing.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Gavin Creel

Thu, Oct 3 , 2019   7:30 PM

Gavin made his Broadway debut originating the role of Jimmy Smith in Thoroughly Modern Millie, earning him his first Tony® nomination. He has since received a Tony Award® for his performance as Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler and David Hyde Pierce, and starred on Broadway as Jean-Michel in La Cage Aux Folles and Claude in Hair.

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Broadway Center Stage: Footloose

Oct 9 - Oct 13, 2019

Set to the rockin' rhythm of the film’s Oscar®- and Tony®-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people and guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind. 

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The Second City's Love, Factually

Dec 3 - Dec 29, 2019

Back by popular demand! From the twisted minds at The Second City comes this fast-paced romp that mingles the classic movie’s most beloved (and despised) characters and moments in an original take sure to warm your icy heart.

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Come From Away

Dec 10 - Jan 5, 2020

A Best Musical winner all across North America! This New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. 

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My Fair Lady

Dec 17 - Jan 19, 2020

From Lincoln Center Theater comes “a sumptuous new production of the most perfect musical of all time” (Entertainment Weekly), Lerner & Loewe’s My Fair Lady

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Broadway Center Stage: Next to Normal

Jan 29 - Feb 2, 2020

Tony Award® winner Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen, Pippin) stars in this unflinching look at a suburban family struggling with the effects of mental illness. 

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Norm Lewis

Sat, Feb 29 , 2020   8:00 PM

Tony®-nominee Norm Lewis, recently seen in NBC's Emmy®-winning broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” joins Renée Fleming VOICES for a spellbinding showcase of his remarkable talent and charisma. He's starred in Broadway's Porgy & BessThe Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, Chicago, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who’s Tommy, and made history as the first African American Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera.  His television credits include The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Gotham, The Blacklist, and Blue Bloods, as well as his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on the hit drama Scandal.

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Jesus Christ Superstar

Apr 14 - Apr 26, 2020

Jesus Christ Superstar is an iconic musical phenomenon with a worldwide fan base. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, a new mesmerizing production comes to North America. 

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Broadway Center Stage: Bye Bye Birdie

Apr 23 - Apr 26, 2020

A loving send-up of the early 1960s, small-town America, teenagers, and rock and roll, this Tony®-winning musical remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. 

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Royal Shakespeare Company: The Taming of the Shrew

May 6 - May 10, 2020

Justin Audibert turns Shakespeare's fierce comedy of gender politics on its head in this ‘landmark production’ (Evening Standard) that offers a fresh perspective on its portrayal of hierarchy and power.

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Tiny Beautiful Things

Jun 2 - Jun 28, 2020

Based on the best-selling book by Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail) and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), this “incredibly moving” (Time Out) play is about reaching when you’re stuck, healing when you’re broken, and finding the courage to take on the questions that have no answers.

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Hamilton

Jun 16 - Sep 20, 2020

Hamilton returns to the Kennedy Center Opera House for 14 weeks in the summer of 2020.

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Once on This Island

Jun 23 - Jul 12, 2020

“What a delight it is to enter the world of Once on This Island!” raves the New York Times. Winner of the 2018 Tony Award® for best revival of a musical, Once on This Island is the sweeping, universal tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl in search of her place in the world, and ready to risk it all for love. 

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A Monster Calls

Jul 21 - Aug 9, 2020

Patrick Ness’s piercing novel A Monster Calls is brought to the stage in a powerful new adaptation by visionary director Sally Cookson.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

Aug 25 - Sep 27, 2020

Academy Award® winner Aaron Sorkin has adapted Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork for the stage with spectacular, universally praised results, creating "a modern American classic" (The Hollywood Reporter) and the most coveted ticket of the Broadway season. 

Performances For Young Audiences

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Kid Prince and Pablo

Oct 19 - Nov 3, 2019

Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper is reimagined as a digital age American Hip Hop story. By standing in one another’s shoes, Kid Prince and Pablo unearth discoveries that could start a whole new revolution. Ages 9+

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NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular

Sun, Oct 20 , 2019

An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+

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Balancing Bodies

Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2019

Take a seat in a rolling office chair as an ordinary space transforms into a universe full of surprises and twists. Dance/theater company Woest from the Netherlands brings this interactive show balancing foolishness and seriousness. Ages 9+

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GET'M

Nov 2 - Nov 3, 2019

Three television hosts fight over one microphone in this imaginative production full of silly misunderstandings, a puppet show, and hilarious hide-n-seek. Ages 3+

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EGG-tion HERO

Nov 9 - Nov 10, 2019

Will two museum attendants succeed at keeping a special egg safe? Join Dutch theater/dance company Maas for a hysterically egg-cellent time! Ages 3+

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Peter and Friends

Nov 23 - Nov 24, 2019

Venture with a boy and his animal friends through the forest. This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra. Infants to 5+

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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical)

Nov 23 - Jan 5, 2020

Whatever you do, don’t let the Pigeon star in his own musical production! Starring an innovative mix of actors, puppets, songs, and feathers, this world premiere Kennedy Center commission features a script by Mo Willems, creator of the best-selling “Pigeon” picture books, along with Muppet Babies executive producer Mr. Warburton, plus music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the composer of Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! Ages 5+

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Family Look-In: The Magic Flute

Sat, Nov 23 , 2019   1:30 PM

See how opera comes to life! In this introduction to opera designed for children and families, audience members will experience excerpts from The Magic Flute along with insight into behind-the-scene aspects. Ages 5+

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Glimpse

Jan 11 - Jan 12, 2020

Dive into an enchanted world in which music, artists, images, and technology interact with one another. Ages 2–4

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty and the Beat

Jan 18 - Jan 26, 2020

See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO principal percussionist Eric Shin in an exciting new program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join together. Ages 3+

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NSO Family Concert: Girl Power! Celebrating Women in Music

Sun, Feb 16 , 2020

Don’t miss a special showcase of female composers, conductors, and performers to mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Arrive early for a Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Mozart Mash-Up

Feb 22 - Feb 23, 2020

Share the magic and music of Mozart in a special family concert when members of the National Symphony Orchestra play favorites from the prolific composer. Age 7+

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YAO YAO

Feb 29 - Mar 1, 2020

Yao accidentally pulls a thread that leads to a magical world blending reality and imagination! South Korea's Brush Theatre uses interactive screen technology and live music to capture the whimsical adventure that follows. Ages 3–7 

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: 123 Andrés

Mar 7 - Mar 8, 2020

Join Andrés and Christina on an exciting cultural exploration of Latin America through an introduction of language, music, and dance. Families sing, shake, and sound out. Ages 3–6

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Jazz Doodle Jam! Jason Moran & Bandwagon + Mo Willems

Mar 13 - Mar 14, 2020

Jazz Doodle Jam! is an intimate jazz concert where you collaborate with the band! Sit down at a table covered with paper, grab a marker or crayon, and join host and Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems for a new kind of participatory musical experience. Kids and grown-ups doodle to music played onstage by Jason Moran and The Bandwagon. The band reacts and improvises to the audience’s explorations, jamming together with pictures and music, blurring the lines between artists and audience!

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NSO Family Concert: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (a Symphonic Spectacular)

Sun, Apr 19 , 2020

Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur… and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway! That’s the just the beginning of a hilarious fractured, symphonic take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as retold by Mo Willems. Don't miss this new classic performed by favorite performers and the NSO, featuring original music composed by indie pop icon and NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds. Ages 5+

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Pokon: An unstoppable game of growth

Apr 24 - Apr 26, 2020

Three performers storm the stage whirling, twirling, hiccupping, tumbling, and singing. Dutch dance company De Dansers presents this mesmerizing performance for children and grown-ups who can’t keep still. Ages 5+

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The Girl Who Swallowed A Cactus

Apr 30 - May 2, 2020

The desert will come to life in surprising new ways when Sheila meets wild animals who share their story. This one-woman show starring Tia Shearer returns after being workshopped at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices festival in 2018. Ages 7+

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The Girl Who Swallowed A Cactus

Apr 30 - May 2, 2020

The desert will come to life in surprising new ways when Sheila meets wild animals who share their story. This one-woman show starring Tia Shearer returns after being workshopped at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices festival in 2018. Ages 7+

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Havana Hop

May 9 - May 10, 2020

Young Yelia dreams of making it big—if only she can conquer her stage fright. One actress portrays three generations of lively women in this interactive show written, directed, and performed by Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Paige Hernandez. Ages 2–10

WORLD STAGES

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WORLD STAGES—The Manganiyar Seduction

Nov 1 - Nov 2, 2019

Conceived and directed by Roysten Abel, The Manganiyar Seduction brings together more than 40 singers and instrumentalists from the Rajasthani deserts performing traditional Manganiyar music in an astonishing audio-visual feast.

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WORLD STAGES—Sundance Institute: Grey Rock

Jan 30 - Feb 1, 2020

A D.C. premiere! A play about the inalienable right to dream: A Palestinian man decides to build a rocket to the moon in a shed. 

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WORLD STAGES—Huff: featuring Cliff Cardinal

Feb 6 - Feb 8, 2020

A U.S. premiere! Nominated for Quebec’s 2016 Critic’s Awards, Huff is a daring solo show by award-winning Cree actor and playwright Cliff Cardinal, one of the most exciting new voices in Canadian theater.

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WORLD STAGES—Heroine: one female soldier's story

Feb 12 - Feb 14, 2020

A U.S. premiere! On a dangerous mission inside a combat zone, Sgt Davis must work with the perpetrator of her sexual attack to get her squad home safely. Can peace ever be possible?

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

Feb 13 - Feb 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.

Ballet

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Working Rehearsal: Mariinsky Ballet

Tue, Oct 8 , 2019   12:30 PM

Dance scholars provide commentary, via wireless headsets, about the choreography, dancers, and history of the art form as companies rehearse on stage.

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Mariinsky Ballet: Paquita

Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2019

Most famous for its Act III “Grand Pas” wedding scene, Paquita is a glittering showcase of classical technique, dazzling tutus, and non-stop virtuosic turns. This 19th-century treasure is rarely performed in its entirety and, after treating our audiences to the Grand Pas in 2016, the company now brings the U.S. premiere of its lavish new full production. 

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Atlanta Ballet: The Nutcracker

Nov 27 - Dec 1, 2019

Ballet and Nutcracker fans are in for a treat Thanksgiving week with the Kennedy Center debut of Atlanta Ballet and its extraordinary new production, which premiered last December. Washington audiences will be the first to see it outside of Atlanta—a truly spectacular, visually inventive staging set against a fantastical starry night, dominated by oversized storybooks, clocks, and constellations.

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The National Ballet of Canada: Forsythe, Kylián, Ratmansky & More (Jan. 28 & 29) / The Sleeping Beauty (Jan. 30–Feb. 2)

Jan 28 - Feb 2, 2020

Canada’s esteemed ballet company returns with two programs: Jan. 28 & 29, experience William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Alexei Ratmansky’s Piano Concerto #1, and a pas de deux to be announced. Jan. 30-Feb. 2, The Sleeping Beauty is the romantic tale of a princess cursed to sleep for 100 years, danced to Tchaikovsky's gorgeous music.

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Working Rehearsal: American Ballet Theatre

Tue, Feb 11 , 2020   1:30 PM

Dance scholars provide commentary, via wireless headsets, about the choreography, dancers, and history of the art form as companies rehearse on stage.

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American Ballet Theatre: Giselle

Feb 11 - Feb 16, 2020

An exciting new generation of ABT’s international stars comes to D.C. for one of the world’s most cherished ballets; the company last performed it in our Opera House nearly 15 years ago. Considered a quintessential tale of unrequited love, heartbreaking loss, and triumphant forgiveness, Giselle remains a timeless favorite.

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Family Dance Workshop: American Ballet Theatre

Sun, Feb 16 , 2020   11:00 AM

Free, no tickets required. Join us for these 45-minute workshops led by artists from our visiting ballet companies. Designed for families with children age 10 and under, each workshop explores music, movement, and/or themes of a ballet while taking families through learning simple ballet steps or choreography. Children must participate with an adult. Pre-registration will be available approximately one month before each event and is highly recommended. 

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New York City Ballet: Balanchine, Wheeldon & a New Work (Mar. 31; Apr. 1 & 5) / Peck, Cunningham & Balanchine/Robbins (Apr. 2–4)

Mar 31 - Apr 5, 2020

The company’s powerhouse dancers continue to enrich an ever-expanding repertory. Mar. 31 and Apr. 1 & 5, the program includes George Balanchine's Haieff Divertimento and Stravinsky Violin Concerto, along with Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy and a new piece. Apr. 2-4, experience Justin Peck’s Principia, Merce Cunningham's Summerspace, and Balanchine and Jerome Robbins’s Firebird.

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Beginning Creative Movement for Adults with New York City Ballet

Sat, Apr 4 , 2020   10:30 AM

Take a class led by some of the most talented and creative artists in the world of dance.

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Family Dance Workshop: New York City Ballet

Sun, Apr 5 , 2020   11:00 AM

Free, no tickets required. Join us for these 45-minute workshops led by artists from our visiting ballet companies. Designed for families with children age 10 and under, each workshop explores music, movement, and/or themes of a ballet while taking families through learning simple ballet steps or choreography. Children must participate with an adult. Pre-registration will be available approximately one month before each event and is highly recommended. 

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Beginning Ballet for Adults with Scottish Ballet

Tue, May 12 , 2020   7:30 PM

Take a class led by some of the most talented and creative artists in the world of dance.

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Scottish Ballet: The Crucible

May 13 - May 17, 2020

Scotland’s national dance company returns, fresh from its 50th anniversary season, with another time-honored drama you wouldn’t necessarily expect on the ballet stage. Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials becomes a riveting, brand-new ballet that makes the story as relevant today as when it was first written. Washington audiences will be the first in the U.S. to experience it. 

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Bolshoi Ballet: Romeo and Juliet

Jun 2 - Jun 7, 2020

The Bolshoi’s incomparable stars immerse themselves in Shakespeare’s enduring tragedy of star-crossed love. Danced to Prokofiev’s richly cinematic score, Alexei Ratmansky’s version shines with the characteristic style that audiences have come to adore from him: quick steps, vigorous lifts, and surprising dashes of humor. Washington is the only U.S. city lucky enough to host Romeo and Juliet

Contemporary Dance

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Cunningham on Film

Oct 2 - Oct 5, 2019

Free outdoor screenings of selections from Merce Cunningham's legacy of dance. Part of Merce Cunningham at 100

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John Cage: Music for Merce—Margaret Leng Tan, Toy and Prepared Piano

Wed, Oct 2 , 2019   7:30 PM

A one-night-only event performed on toy and prepared pianos by the renowned avant-garde pianist/Cage interpreter, Margaret Leng Tan.

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Merce Cunningham at 100

Oct 3 - Oct 5, 2019

To open our contemporary dance season, the Kennedy Center joins the global centennial celebration of one of the most important figures in modern dance, icon Merce Cunningham. Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers presents two Cunningham masterworks, Beach Birds and BIPED.

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Let’s Talk Dance: The Artistic Process and Collaborations of Merce Cunningham

Sat, Oct 5 , 2019   4:00 PM

Join Robert Swinston, former Cunningham dancer and current Artistic Director of Compagnie Centre National de Danse Contemporaine-Angers
and others for a conversation that will give you a glimpse into how Merce Cunningham created and collaborated to create ground-breaking dance works.

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DEMO by Damian Woetzel: BalletX

Oct 25 - Oct 26, 2019

Discover Philadelphia’s powerhouse contemporary dance company in its Kennedy Center debut, performing a program with exciting guest artists that explores through the unique DEMO format what it means to be a creative ensemble in the 21st century.

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Dance Fitness

Nov 2 - Mar 7, 2020

Part of our new Dance Wellness Series! Try on different styles of dance while beating the winter blues in these fitness-focused classes held the first Saturday of the month, November 2019 through March 2020. Each class will be offered in collaboration with a local dance fitness professional or organization. All experience levels welcome and celebrated.

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Mark Morris Dance Group: Pepperland

Nov 13 - Nov 16, 2019

Mark Morris Dance Group adds some spice to this season with a colorful, exuberant new production that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Any Level Class for Seniors with Mark Morris Dance Group

Thu, Nov 14 , 2019   1:00 PM

Take a class led by some of the most talented and creative artists in the world of dance.

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Dance for Parkinson's Disease: Mark Morris Dance Group

Sat, Nov 16 , 2019   11:00 AM

This program offers internationally acclaimed dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease in more than 250 communities and 24 countries. Join Mark Morris Dance Group for a free workshop where participants are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative. Pre-registration is required. 

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Maya Beiser, Wendy Whelan, Lucinda Childs & David Lang: The Day

Dec 6 - Dec 7, 2019

A collaboration among legends, The Day is a new music/dance work by cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs, with music by David Lang.

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Matthew Bourne's New Adventures: Swan Lake

Jan 21 - Jan 26, 2020

With a fresh look for the 21st century, Matthew Bourne brings his breakout international hit to the Kennedy Center for the first time. Thrilling, audacious, witty, and emotive, this Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions and took the dance world by storm. 

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Gregory Maqoma's Vuyani Dance Theatre: Cion: Requiem of Ravel's Boléro

Jan 24 - Jan 25, 2020

Experience South African star Gregory Maqoma’s choreographic genius at the Kennedy Center for the first time. His company Vuyani Dance Theatre performs an innovative, visually stunning full-length work that brings literature to life, drawing inspiration from the character Toloki in South African author Zakes Mda’s novel Cion, and music from French composer Maurice Ravel’s Boléro. 

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Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Feb 4 - Feb 9, 2020

For its annual Kennedy Center engagement, the beloved company will continue to push the art form into fascinating new territory, with multiple programs as unique and phenomenal as the dancers themselves, including Ailey's signature classic Revelations. This “spiritually riveting” (DC Metro Theater Arts) company never fails to remind us of the power of dance and its ability to unite people from all walks of life.

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Revelations Celebration Workshop with Ailey Arts in Education Teaching Artists
 

Sat, Feb 8 , 2020   5:30 PM

Free, no tickets required. One of America's favorite dance companies offers a special workshop, teaching excerpts from Revelations, Alvin Ailey’s signature masterpiece.

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Dance for Parkinson's Disease: Lucy Bowen McCauley

Feb 15 - May 16, 2020

This program offers internationally acclaimed dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease in more than 250 communities and 24 countries. Join local Dance for PD certified instructor Lucy Bowen McCauley for a free workshop where participants are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative. Pre-registration is required.

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DEMO by Damian Woetzel: NOW 2020

Mon, Mar 2 , 2020   8:00 PM

This installment of the Kennedy Center's popular DEMO series presents recent commissions and D.C. premieres from some of today’s most creative voices in dance and music. Performers and repertory will be announced in fall 2019.

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Fruits borne out of rust by Tabaimo and Maki Morishita

Tue, Mar 3 , 2020   7:30 PM

Conceived and directed by internationally renowned Japanese visual artist Tabaimo in collaboration with award-winning choreographer Maki Morishita, this whimsical, mischievous multimedia work is performed by a solo female dancer and two on-stage musicians to an original score by Yusuke Awazu and Keisuke Tanaka.

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Martha Graham Dance Company: The EVE Project

Mar 5 - Mar 7, 2020

Martha Graham is inarguably the mother of American modern dance. In celebration of the centennial of the 19th amendment in 2020, which gave women the right to vote, the company has created a collection of new commissions and signature Graham classics that each make bold statements about female power.

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Let's Talk Dance: Panel Discussion: Martha Graham, Women in Dance, and Dance as Activism

Sat, Mar 7 , 2020   4:00 PM

With Let's Talk Dance, join us for various conversations, panels, Q&As, lectures, artist talks, pre- and post-performance discussions, podcasts, and more inspired by themes and topics of the current ballet and dance seasons. With each event, we will connect you to dance beyond performance and strive to inspire you towards a deeper appreciation for the world of dance. 

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Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M

May 1 - May 2, 2020

A bold creator, Kyle Abraham represents a fresh, new perspective in today’s dance community. For his company’s first fully dedicated Kennedy Center engagement, A.I.M’s repertory program offers a rare opportunity to witness Abraham perform INDY, his first new full-length solo in nearly a decade.

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Unifying Uniquenness with A.I.M

Sat, May 2 , 2020   10:30 AM

Part conversation and part movement workshop, Unifying Uniqueness investigates the ideologies surrounding uniqueness and likenesses in each individual participant. Led by one to two A.I.M company members, students of all levels will learn phrases of material from A.I.M repertory, engage in a dialogue centered around early memories, and integrate movement with ideas of perception, family, and freedom.

National Symphony Orchestra

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National Symphony Orchestra: Season Opening Gala Concert
Noseda leads a jazz-inspired evening with Yuja Wang

Sat, Sep 28 , 2019   7:00 PM

Our adventure begins with a concert of favorites influenced by jazz. Gianandrea Noseda’s lively program explores how great composers of the last century have embraced the distinctly American art form with gusto, creating unforgettable music that fans of all genres adore. Pianist extraordinaire Yuja Wang joins Noseda for Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 1, an enduring masterpiece reminiscent of jazzy vaudeville with high-paced rhythms and comical punch lines.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Carmina Burana

Oct 3 - Oct 5, 2019

“O Fortuna!” Carmina Burana’s towering first movement rolls in like thunder, announcing a celebration of spring, the humor of life in the tavern, and the joys and sorrows of love. Although the words were written by medieval monks, Orff’s outrageous cantata is an unstoppable force brimming with decadent debauchery. Under the baton of Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, the Orchestra is joined by two choruses and three remarkable singers for a symphonic experience sacred and profane.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Janowski conducts Bruckner's Seventh / Steinbacher plays Mozart

Oct 10 - Oct 12, 2019

Hailed by the New York Times for her “lyricism and fire,” violinist Arabella Steinbacher returns to the Concert Hall to once again delight audiences in a dynamic performance of Mozart’s demanding Violin Concerto No. 4. Esteemed conductor Marek Janowski leads the program, which also includes Bruckner’s most celebrated symphony, the dramatic Seventh.

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NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular

Sun, Oct 20 , 2019

An annual tradition! The Concert Hall transforms into a ghostly sight when our ghoulishly attired musicians perform new and old classics to celebrate Halloween. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+

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National Symphony Orchestra at The Anthem: Gershwin's An American in Paris

Mon, Oct 28 , 2019   8:00 PM

The NSO continues its series of casual, affordable concerts—a new way to enjoy the symphony! Join them at DC's hottest new venue for An American in Paris, Gershwin's atmospheric love letter to the "City of Lights."  Experience all of the magic and romance of this masterpiece, from a symphony of Parisian taxi horns to trumpets playing the bittersweet blues.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Urbański conducts Tchaikovsky's Fourth / De la Salle plays Chopin

Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2019

In his much-anticipated return to the NSO, electrifying young conductor Krzysztof Urbański unleashes the full force of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony. Witness the composer’s magnificent journey from darkness to light: an evolution of emotion ranging from wistful poetry to commanding optimism and ultimately, renewed love of life. Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is performed by young French pianist Lise de la Salle, whose playing inspired a Washington Post critic to write, “For much of the concert, the audience had to remember to breathe... the exhilaration didn’t let up for a second until her hands came off the keyboard.”

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National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts a dance-inspired program / Bar-Josef plays Piazzolla

Nov 7 - Nov 9, 2019

Tango. Ballet. Viennese waltz. Music and dance inspire each other and the audience in this diverse program of classical works connecting the two art forms. Noseda conducts Ellington’s jazz interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s lush ballet score, as well as one of Piazzolla's most popular works, the tango-inspired Four Seasons of Buenos Aires with NSO Concertmaster Nurit Bar-Josef.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Tristan and Isolde—Act II with Gould and Goerke

Nov 13 - Nov 15, 2019

Don’t miss your first chance to witness Noseda, one of the world’s leading opera conductors, and the NSO perform the stunning music from Tristan and Isolde, Wagner’s story of young lovers undone. A revolutionary work demanding singers of herculean vocal power, Act II of Tristan and Isolde features two masters of Wagnerian repertoire: Stephen Gould, one of today’s most sought-after heroic tenors, and Christine Goerke, who “brings a cool, focused voice, abundant power, chilling top notes and, in moments of doubt, anguished beauty to her singing” (The New York Times).

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National Symphony Orchestra: Fleming and Gilfry in an NSO co-commission / Noseda conducts Also sprach Zarathustra

Nov 21 - Nov 23, 2019

One of the most celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, soprano Renée Fleming returns to the Concert Hall with Grammy®-nominated baritone Rod Gilfry. Under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda, they perform the D.C. premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner Kevin Puts’s Brightness of Light, an NSO co-commission inspired by the letters between iconic American artist Georgia O'Keeffe and her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz. The program comes to a rapturous close with Also sprach Zarathustra, Strauss’s epic showpiece immortalized in pop culture by Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Peter and Friends

Nov 23 - Nov 24, 2019

Venture with a boy and his animal friends through the forest. This wild adventure features actors, puppets, and a quintet of woodwind and brass musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra. Infants to 5+

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National Symphony Orchestra: Celebrating Slatkin at 75 / Kern plays Rachmaninoff

Dec 5 - Dec 7, 2019

When former NSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin led the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, he commissioned a set of variations—each from a different living American composer—on the famous Paganini Caprice No. 24. In honor of Slatkin’s 75th birthday season, a number of orchestras, including the NSO, have each commissioned an additional variation to create a new, expanded version of the work.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Handel's Messiah

Dec 19 - Dec 22, 2019

Since its debut nearly three centuries ago, one work reigns unchallenged as the ultimate celebration of holiday cheer: Handel’s Messiah. This year, experience Messiah’s supreme glory in Sir Andrew Davis's must-hear orchestration of the beloved classic. A stellar cast of singers joins Davis, the Orchestra, and The Washington Chorus.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Bronfman plays Beethoven / Holst's The Planets

Jan 16 - Jan 19, 2020

From menacing Mars to enigmatic Neptune, a wondrous cosmic dance comes to symphonic life in Holst’s The Planets. Recently appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony, New Zealand–born Gemma New makes her NSO debut with this uplifting cornerstone of classical music, taking the audience on a transcendent trip through the universe. World-renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman joins the program to perform Beethoven’s poetic Fourth Piano Concerto.

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty and the Beat

Jan 18 - Jan 26, 2020

See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO principal percussionist Eric Shin in an exciting new program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join together. Ages 3+

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National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach returns / Tetzlaff plays Dvořák

Jan 24 - Jan 25, 2020

Dvořák’s exuberant Violin Concerto requires exceptional virtuosity and musicianship. Christian Tetzlaff, whom The New Yorker calls “the finest violinist performing before the public today,” displays both with elegance and depth. NSO Conductor Laureate Christoph Eschenbach returns to lead the internationally renowned violinist, bringing to life the work’s powerhouse opening, lyrical slow movement, and spirited finale infused with Slavic cheer.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Lugansky plays Mozart / Honeck conducts Dvořák

Jan 30 - Feb 1, 2020

Named 2018 Artist of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards, Manfred Honeck returns to conduct Resurrexit, a piece from Mason Bates, the Kennedy Center's Composer-in-Residence and Musical America’s 2018 Composer of the Year. Commissioned by Honeck, Resurrexit was written to celebrate the conductor’s 60th birthday, and the NSO is excited to bring this masterwork to the Concert Hall. Nikolai Lugansky, praised by The New York Times for his “remarkable artistry,” performs Mozart’s stormy Piano Concerto No. 24. The program concludes with Dvořák’s Eighth, a joyous symphony influenced by the composer’s great love for traditional Bohemian music.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Dvořák's Cello Concerto

Feb 6 - Feb 9, 2020

“Music is life,” declared Carl Nielsen, “and like it, inextinguishable.” Composed against the backdrop of World War I, Nielsen’s Fourth is one of the most dramatic of symphonies ever composed, from the volcanic opening to the thrilling finale with a duel for two sets of timpani. French German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt makes his NSO debut playing a Dvořák favorite, the sublime Cello Concerto. This is music that makes you feel alive, and conductor Edward Gardner has it pulsing through his veins.

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NSO Family Concert: Girl Power! Celebrating Women in Music

Sun, Feb 16 , 2020

Don’t miss a special showcase of female composers, conductors, and performers to mark 100 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Arrive early for a Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Ages 5+

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National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Mahler's Fifth and Schubert

Feb 20 - Feb 22, 2020

Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony is not unfinished at all. Its brilliance lies in the composer’s deliberate decision to leave the masterpiece as is, and no music lover would have it any other way. With compassion for man’s mortality, Schubert packs a lifetime of hope, suffering, and joy into just two perfect movements. Concluding the program is Mahler’s expressive, powerful Symphony No. 5, balancing heartache and glory.

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Mozart Mash-Up

Feb 22 - Feb 23, 2020

Share the magic and music of Mozart in a special family concert when members of the National Symphony Orchestra play favorites from the prolific composer. Age 7+

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National Symphony Orchestra: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

Feb 27 - Feb 29, 2020

The youngest-ever winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Akiko Suwanai joins Noseda for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, a work radiating Russian spirit. Thursday and Saturday’s program concludes with Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Friday’s performance concludes with Dvořák’s “New World Symphony,” two pieces that evoke the Russian and Czech composers’ enthusiastic immersion into American culture.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Kozhukhin plays Grieg's Piano Concerto

Apr 2 - Apr 4, 2020

Following his celebrated NSO debut last season, acclaimed Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin returns to perform one of the most-loved concertos of all time, Grieg’s Piano Concerto. Conducted by incoming Music Director for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Gustavo Gimeno, the program also includes Shostakovich's brilliant Symphony No. 1. Written at the age of eighteen, the work is already characteristic of Shostakovich's trademark style: unafraid, exuberant, and delightfully dramatic.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Langrée conducts Brahms's First / Hough plays Beethoven

Apr 16 - Apr 18, 2020

With its grand orchestration and stormy, romantic movements, Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto is a vital precursor to the composer’s “heroic” middle-period style, which the NSO explores later this season in Beethoven at 250. Stephen Hough effortlessly conquers the concerto, which demands remarkable mastery and range of color from the soloist. Brahms’s radiant First Symphony and Julia Wolfe’s Fountain of Youth complete the program, making a thrilling NSO debut for conductor Louis Langrée, Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

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NSO Family Concert: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs (a Symphonic Spectacular)

Sun, Apr 19 , 2020

Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur… and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway! That’s the just the beginning of a hilarious fractured, symphonic take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as retold by Mo Willems. Don't miss this new classic performed by favorite performers and the NSO, featuring original music composed by indie pop icon and NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds. Ages 5+

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National Symphony Orchestra: Eschenbach conducts Ravel's Boléro / Carpenter plays Poulenc

Apr 23 - Apr 25, 2020

Christoph Eschenbach returns once more to lead an all-French program featuring Ravel’s famous Boléro. The sultry slow-burn never fails to excite audiences, unfolding with increasingly rich combinations in the longest-sustained crescendo of any orchestral work. Rock star organist Cameron Carpenter, “a modern-day throwback to the flamboyant virtuosos of the 19th century” (NPR), joins the Orchestra in Poulenc’s vibrant Organ Concerto.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Noseda conducts Mahler's Fourth / NSO stars play Haydn

May 7 - May 9, 2020

Four exceptional NSO principals engage in a spirited musical conversation as they take center stage in Haydn’s joyful Sinfonia Concertante. The program, conducted by Noseda, concludes with Mahler’s heavenly Fourth Symphony, a piece combining the composer’s love of nature and humor with his search for the meaning of life.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Memory and Myth: Music by Sibelius and an NSO premiere

May 14 - May 16, 2020

In a symphonic exploration of legend and lore, visionary maestro David Robertson conducts Mnemosyne's Pool, an NSO co-commission from Grammy Award®–winning composer Steven Mackey. Drawing inspiration from the Greek goddess of memory, Mackey’s work tells the story of souls who dared drink from the river Mnemosyne in Hades, thereby bestowing eternal life in the Elysian Fields. Sibelius weaves Finnish mythology into music in The Swan of Tuonela, a tone poem depicting the hero’s quest to kill a mystical swan swimming through the Finnish realm of the dead.

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Lang Lang in Recital

Sat, May 23 , 2020   8:00 PM

For one concert only, the National Symphony Orchestra presents “the hottest artist on the classical music planet” (The New York Times), Lang Lang. Experience his dazzling piano talents to a solo program of J.S. Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3

May 28 - May 29, 2020

“Let your deafness no longer be a secret—even in art!”
—Beethoven’s notes in the sketches of Opus 59 string quartet, 1806

Our tribute begins with an exciting concert featuring Beethoven’s Third Symphony, “Eroica,” a major turning point in musical history. The work illustrates the composer’s own spiritual quest towards heroism as he coped with deafness and found new triumph in his art and life. Also on the program are Beethoven’s First Symphony and his Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, a popular ballet inspired by another hero whose suffering ultimately helped humankind, the rebellious Greek Titan who stole fire from the Gods to give to mortals.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5

May 30 - Jun 3, 2020

Famed for its iconic four-note opening, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is one of the most well-known and influential pieces of music ever composed. Imaginative, violent, and wide-ranging, the colossal crowd-pleaser immerses the audience in Beethoven’s state of mind with dramatic tension that builds to a passionate climax. Complementing the program are two works deeply connected to the composer’s rebellious ideals: his Second Symphony and third Leonore Overture.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 7

Jun 5 - Jun 6, 2020

Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony starts small but grows into a giant. Upon first hearing the masterpiece, 26-year-old Robert Schumann was so enthralled that he “sat in place without moving a muscle or even breathing.” Beethoven’s Overture from Egmont opens the program, and his Seventh Symphony makes for a visceral, high-voltage finale.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8

Jun 9 - Jun 10, 2020

Join Noseda for a program of masterworks beginning with the rapid-fire wit of Beethoven’s Coriolan overture, followed by an explosive musical firecracker: his Eighth Symphony. Beethoven's “Pastoral” Symphony, which features some of the composer’s most memorable melodies. By the end of this heavenly concert, the audience finds itself gently transported to the Viennese countryside.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven at 250: Symphony No. 9

Jun 12 - Jun 14, 2020

The NSO culminates its tribute with Beethoven’s epic Ninth, the symphony by which all others are measured. Witness the vast cosmic drama of this groundbreaking piece, which was the first symphony to introduce vocals in an orchestration. With its grand emotional melodies and tremendous final “Ode to Joy,” Beethoven’s final symphony resounds as loudly today as it did two centuries ago.

KC Chamber Players

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The Kennedy Center Chamber Players—Fall Concert

Sun, Nov 3 , 2019   2:00 PM

This fall, The Kennedy Center Chamber Players join the celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday with two of his sonatas. In addition the ensemble will play a cello sonata by Jaffe. 

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The Kennedy Center Chamber Players—Winter Concert

Sun, Feb 23 , 2020   2:00 PM

For their February concert The Kennedy Center Chamber Players share two Beethoven works: String Quartet in C major, Op. 29 and "Kreutzer" Sonata, arranged for String Quintet.

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The Kennedy Center Chamber Players—Spring Concert

Sun, May 17 , 2020   2:00 PM

For their final concert of the season, The Kennedy Center Chamber Players highlight two Beethoven works and Mozart's “the Kegelstatt Trio.”

Fortas Chamber Music Concerts

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Takács Quartet I

Tue, Oct 15 , 2019   7:30 PM

The Grammy Award®–winning Takács Quartet performs a not-to-be-missed cycle of Bartók's string quartets, Nos. 1, 3, & 5 (Oct. 15) and Nos. 2, 4, & 6 (Oct. 16). 

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Takács Quartet II

Wed, Oct 16 , 2019   7:30 PM

The Grammy Award®–winning Takács Quartet performs a not-to-be-missed cycle of Bartók's string quartets, Nos. 2, 4, & 6 (Oct. 16) and Nos. 1, 3, & 5 (Oct. 15).

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio

Wed, Oct 30 , 2019   7:30 PM

The Kennedy Center's beloved Trio-in-Residence shares a real treat this season—a stunning program of Beethoven's most compelling trios in celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Cantus

Wed, Nov 13 , 2019   7:30 PM

This charming men's vocal ensemble returns with its trademark musicality, “spontaneous grace,” and “expressive power” (The Washington Post). The centerpiece of this year’s program is the exciting D.C. premiere of a new composition from Grammy Award® winner Libby Larsen.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Pamela Frank and Peter Serkin

Wed, Dec 4 , 2019   7:30 PM

Violinist Pamela Frank unites with frequent collaborator pianist Peter Serkin for an evening of Bach's sonatas. 

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Jay Campbell

Tue, Jan 21 , 2020   7:30 PM

Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja makes her long-awaited Kennedy Center debut alongside her frequent collaborator, cellist Jay Campbell.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Nelly’s Harpsichord: Music from Mount Vernon

Sun, Jan 26 , 2020   2:00 PM

Harpsichordist Richard Egarr plays the newly completed replica of Eleanor “Nelly” Custis one-of-a-kind harpsichord, a gift from her grandfather George Washington in 1793. The program features popular music from Nelly's time and selections from her own song book to be announced from the stage.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Trio Con Brio Copenhagen

Wed, Feb 19 , 2020   7:30 PM

Last at the Kennedy Center for the Nordic Cool Festival in 2013, Trio con Brio Copenhagen's program is mysterious yet personal featuring Beethoven, Shostakovich, and Bent Sørensen.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: A Far Cry

Tue, Mar 31 , 2020   7:30 PM

The Boston-based Grammy®-nominated string orchestra makes its Kennedy Center debut with a program of works by Pärt, Mozart, Elgar, and Tchaikovsky. 

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Dover Quartet

Wed, Apr 15 , 2020   7:30 PM

Now ingrained in the Kennedy Center’s rich history, “the young American string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker) enters its second season as our Quartet-in-Residence.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Maurizio Pollini in recital

Sun, May 10 , 2020   2:00 PM

Extraordinary Italian pianist Maurizio Pollini returns to the Concert Hall with a program celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday.

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Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Emerson String Quartet and Renée Fleming

Thu, May 14 , 2020   7:30 PM

The Grammy Award®–winning Emerson String Quartet reunites with Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large Renée Fleming for another “rapturous recital” (The Washington Post).  At the center of the evening is Penelope, a new monodrama inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey from the Academy Award®–winning composer André Previn and libretto by playwright Tom Stoppard.

Special Concerts

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Chineke! Orchestra with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello

Tue, Apr 21 , 2020   8:00 PM

A co-presentation with Washington Performing Arts. Championing change and diversity in the classical music world, the Chineke! Orchestra provides young black and minority ethnic artists performance opportunities around the world. The concert features Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the star cellist at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding in 2018.

Washington National Opera

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Washington National Opera: Otello

Oct 26 - Nov 16, 2019

Verdi’s epic retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy traces the collapse of a great hero. As Iago manipulates Otello, the general will confront his deadliest enemy: his jealous heart.

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Washington National Opera: The Magic Flute

Nov 2 - Nov 23, 2019

Mozart meets Maurice Sendak and a little magic! This enchanting quest for love and truth features a whimsical production designed by author/illustrator Maurice Sendak.

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Family Look-In: The Magic Flute

Sat, Nov 23 , 2019   1:30 PM

See how opera comes to life! In this introduction to opera designed for children and families, audience members will experience excerpts from The Magic Flute along with insight into behind-the-scene aspects. Ages 5+

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Washington National Opera: 2019 Marian Anderson Vocal Award Winner: Soloman Howard in Concert

Mon, Nov 25 , 2019   7:30 PM

This year’s winner, Soloman Howard, is praised for his “sonorous” (The New York Times) and “superhuman” (The Denver Post) bass.

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WNO: American Opera Initiative: Three New 20-Minute Operas

Fri, Jan 10 , 2020

Three world premiere short operas will be staged in a concert performance, accompanied by a small chamber orchestra and followed by a Q&A with the artists and creative team. This season's distinguished mentors include composer Laura Kaminsky, librettist Kelley Rourke, and conductor Anne Manson.

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Washington National Opera: Don Giovanni

Feb 29 - Mar 22, 2020

A notorious lover meets his ultimate fiery punishment in Mozart’s celebrated tragicomedy. He’s spent his life betraying women. Now time’s up.

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Washington National Opera: Samson and Delilah

Mar 1 - Mar 21, 2020

Seduction and deceit tangle in Saint-Saëns’s sensual grand opera. When Delilah seduces Samson into revealing the source of his physical power, his faith will be put to a final, catastrophic test.

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Washington National Opera: Blue

Mar 15 - Mar 28, 2020

In the D.C. premiere of Jeanine Tesori and Tazewell Thompson’s new contemporary opera, a family struggles when their teenager is shot by police.

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Washington National Opera: Porgy and Bess

May 9 - May 23, 2020

Gershwin’s quintessential American masterpiece melds jazz, folk, and gospel styles. Bess finds herself torn between steadfast love and the dark demons that tug her elsewhere.

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Opera Master Class with Denyce Graves

Tue, May 12 , 2020   7:00 PM

Emerging artists hone their craft under the guidance of mezzo-soprano and D.C. native Denyce Graves, who is recognized as “an operatic superstar of the 21st Century” (USA Today).

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