The Kennedy Center

Popular/World Music

Featured this season 2

Upcoming Events


National Symphony Orchestra: Labor Day Capitol Concert 2017

Sun, Sep 3, 2017, 8:00 PM

Vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Aoife O’Donovan joins the National Symphony Orchestra and guest conductor John Morris Russell for the NSO's annual free Labor Day concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.


NSO Pops: Blue Suede Tunes with Frankie Moreno

Sep 15 - Sep 16, 2017

Get all shook up to the music of Elvis Presley and more golden age rock ’n’ rollers in a rollicking retrospective for the ages featuring star crooner Frankie Moreno and sibling dancer duo Lacey and Benji Schwimmer.

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Selma: A Film and Live Music Event with the NSO, Jason Moran, and Others

Fri, Sep 22, 2017, 8:00 PM

Experience Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement to secure equal voting rights as chronicled by the Academy Award®–nominated film on a big screen with Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran’s acclaimed score performed live.

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National Symphony Orchestra: Season Opening Gala Concert

Sun, Sep 24, 2017, 6:00 PM

In his inaugural concert as the NSO's seventh music director, Gianandrea Noseda leads cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Tony-winning singer Cynthia Erivo in a grand tribute to the late Leonard Bernstein.

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Music Olympics, Inc. presents Pavarotti & Lanza Voices: Med Music Jinhai Wang's 2017 Crocus Tour

Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 7:00 PM

Countertenor Jinhai Wang brings a program of popular and operatic melodies to the Family Theater stage.

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NSO Pops: Seu Jorge presents The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie

Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 8:00 PM

In a concert inspired by his role in Wes Anderson’s 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Brazilian actor/musician Seu Jorge celebrates Bowie’s legendary catalog, elevating his gorgeous acoustic interpretations with the evocative power of the NSO.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Renée Fleming & Christian McBride

Fri, Oct 13

Fleming pairs her radiant vocals with the iconic jazz sounds of four-time Grammy Award®–winning bassist Christian McBride.

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Leslie Odom Jr.

Oct 14 - Oct 15, 2017

Following his acclaimed performance at the 2016 Kennedy Center Spring Gala, Leslie Odom Jr. returns to showcase the remarkable talent that also won him that year's Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, for his performance as Aaron Burr in the smash hit Hamilton.

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Japanese Connections: featuring Kazunori Kumagai and Yumi Kurosawa

Wed, Oct 18, 2017, 7:30 PM

Tap dancer Kazunori Kumagai and koto player Yumi Kurosawa join forces to pay tribute to the connection forged between the Kennedy Center and the government and people of Japan who supported the original opening of the Terrace Theater.

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NSO Pops: Pink Martini with China Forbes

Oct 26 - Oct 28, 2017

With an eclectic, whimsical charm and a repertoire spanning from jazz to classical to retro pop, the self-described “little orchestra” and singer China Forbes return to D.C. for a highly anticipated reunion with the NSO.

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NSO Family Concert: Halloween Spooktacular

Sun, Oct 29

Creep into the Concert Hall for costumed classics at this frightfully fun concert featuring ghoulishly attired musicians. Arrive early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Age 5+

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Cynthia Erivo

Nov 3 - Nov 4, 2017

The British actress known for her inspiring Tony-winning performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple showcases her powerhouse voice for two remarkable evenings.

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Vocal Arts DC presents: New York Festival of Song: The Passion of Leonard Bernstein

Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 2:00 PM

As part of the worldwide Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebration, New York Festival of Song offers a Leonard Bernstein extravaganza.

On Sale 9/7/2017


The Isley Brothers

Sun, Nov 5, 2017, 8:00 PM

CONCERT RESCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 5, 2017: The Isley Brothers have basked in the forefront of popular music for nearly 50 years with dozens of #1 hits, countless awards, and an induction into The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. 

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Barbara Hannigan & Reinbert de Leeuw

Tue, Nov 14, 2017, 7:30 PM

Barbara Hannigan is a Canadian soprano and conductor, and one of the world's leading performers of contemporary opera. She is joined for a fantastic evening of music by prolific and respected Dutch conductor, pianist, and composer Reinbert de Leeuw.

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Mouse on Mars

Wed, Nov 15, 2017, 7:30 PM

Renowned German electronica duo Mouse on Mars brings its visionary sound to the Kennedy Center in a visceral event combining live electronica and acoustic instruments. Widely acknowledged as the heirs to Kraftwerk, Mouse on Mars makes a rare D.C. appearance.

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NSO Pops: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in Concert

Nov 24 - Nov 26, 2017

Relive the magic of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets™ in high definition on a giant screen while hearing the NSO perform John Williams’s unforgettable score. Age 5+

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Renée Fleming VOICES: Angélique Kidjo

Thu, Nov 30, 2017, 8:00 PM

Angélique Kidjo is a Beninese Grammy Award®winning singer-songwriter and activist, noted for her diverse musical influences and creativity. Time Magazine has called her "Africa's premier diva."

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NSO Pops: A Holiday Pops! featuring Megan Hilty

Dec 8 - Dec 9, 2017

Dash through the snow to our merrily adorned Concert Hall and warm your spirit with fresh takes on comforting classics and singalong carols in this annual NSO tradition, joined this year by Tony®-nominated stage and screen star Megan Hilty.

On Sale 9/13/2017


Getty Music Presents: SING! An Irish Christmas

Wed, Dec 13, 2017, 8:00 PM

Keith and Kristyn Getty bring their touring Irish Christmas show back to the Kennedy Center in a program built around their Christmas church music catalog and their love for historic carols.
Please see Update Note below. 

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The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents: A Family Christmas

Sat, Dec 16, 2017, 1:00 PM

The young and the young at heart will revel in the joy of the season as holiday favorites ring throughout the Concert Hall. 

On Sale 9/5/2017


The Choral Arts Society of Washington presents: Christmas with Choral Arts

Dec 17 - Dec 24, 2017

Choral Arts celebrates the joys of the season in a delightful program of popular holiday standards and seasonal Christmas classics.

On Sale 9/5/2017


DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents with the National Symphony Orchestra, Guest Artists TBA

Fri, Jan 12, 2018, 9:00 PM

Ben Folds presents a curated NSO concert uniting musicians from multiple genres and styles to collaborate with the NSO and create new experiences for audiences and performers alike. Featured guests will be announced at a later date.

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NSO Pops: Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds

Jan 19 - Jan 20, 2018

11-time Grammy®-winning singer/songwriter/producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds joins the NSO in a world-premiere orchestral collaboration over two unforgettable evenings.

On Sale 9/13/2017


Kathleen Battle's Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey

Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 5:00 PM

The five-time Grammy®-winning soprano, whose voice has been hailed as "one of the very few most beautiful in the world" (The Washington Post), returns to D.C. with a special concert program celebrating the spiritual as a musical form as well as the power of the human spirit.

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NSO Pops: West Side Story in Concert

Feb 14 - Feb 17, 2018

NSO Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke leads three concert performances of Bernstein's cherished musical take on Romeo & Juliet. Soloists will be announced in the coming months.

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NSO Family Concert: Let's Remix the Classix!

Sun, Feb 18

Learn the language of music with a fresh twist as the NSO reunites with Grammy®-nominated beatboxer and multi-instrumentalist Christylez Bacon and wildly original electric cellist/composer Wytold for a crash course in the fundamentals of remixing! Age 5+


NSO Music for Young Audiences: Two Divas and a Bear

Mar 2 - Mar 4, 2018

Join NSO violinist Marissa Regni, soprano Kari Paludan, and everyone's favorite stuffed animal as they explore the human voice along with the voice of the violin! Age 3+


Renée Fleming VOICES: Laura and Linda Benanti: The Story Goes On

Fri, Mar 9, 2018, 7:30 PM

Join Tony Award® winner (and brand new mom) Laura Benanti and her mother Linda Benanti on a musical journey through the special relationship between a mother and daughter. 

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Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: California Mystics

Sun, Mar 11, 2018, 7:30 PM

A journey in ambience, rhythm, and texture featuring composers from California's past and present. Using Bedouin-inspired tenting and pillows, the Atrium will be transformed into an immersive and inviting environment to explore works by Lou Harrison, Steve Reich, Nathaniel Stookey, and Mason Bates.


Julia Wolfe's Anthracite Fields: Bang on a Can All-Stars, Choir of Trinity Wall Street & Julian Wachner, conductor

Tue, Mar 13, 2018, 7:30 PM

The Bang on a Can All-Stars, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and conductor Julian Wachner present the multimedia D.C. premiere of Anthracite Fields--reprising their Grammy-nominated account of American composer Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize–winning oratorio, in which historic photo-montages help recall Pennsylvania's coal-mining past.


The Colorado: A Documentary Film & Live Music Experience

Wed, Mar 14, 2018, 7:30 PM

The D.C. premiere of this groundbreaking music-driven eco-documentary from filmmaker Murat Eyuboglu features the score performed live by Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and others, with narration by Academy Award winner Sir Mark Rylance.


Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: Mercury Soul

Thu, Mar 15, 2018, 7:30 PM

After a successful sold-out engagement in 2016, Mason Bates's signature event, Mercury Soul, returns to Washington for another custom blend of live electronica, classical music, DJing, and visual art, creating a cutting-edge, immersive dance club within the Kennedy Center.


Renée Fleming VOICES: Ute Lemper's Paris Days, Berlin Nights

Fri, Mar 16, 2018, 8:00 PM

The German singer and actress renowned for her interpretations of the work of Kurt Weill performs a collection of songs that journey through Europe and Argentina, featuring the Vogler Quartet.

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NSO Pops: Black Violin

Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 8:00 PM

Violinist Kevin Sylvester (“Kev Marcus”) and violist Wilner Baptiste (“Wil B”) join the NSO to showcase their dynamic music style bridging Hip Hop beats and lyrical melodies with classical instrumentation and searing technique. Age 5+

On Sale 11/15/2017


NSO Music for Young Audiences: The String Thing

Apr 16 - Apr 30, 2018

A “silent” comedic tag-team—bassist Paul DeNola and violinist Heather LeDoux Green—takes a break from the NSO to introduce young audiences to some of the greatest music ever written in a hilarious program of music and mayhem. Age 3+


Mason Bates's KC Jukebox: JFK Jukebox

Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 7:30 PM

In celebration of President Kennedy, KC Jukebox presents an evening of music informed by the Civil Rights movement, from Carlos Simon's An Elegy: Cry From the Grave—a haunting dedication to those wrongfully murdered by an oppressive power, performed by the Parker Quartet—to a special performance by David T. Little's band, Newspeak. The evening's featured piece is The Holy Presence of Joan d'Arc for 10 cellos by recently rediscovered visionary Julius Eastman, performed by American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).

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NSO Music for Young Audiences: Brass of Peace

May 18 - May 19, 2018

Comprised of 13 D.C.-area high school students, one of the city’s finest young brass ensembles joins retired NSO hornist Sylvia Alimena to teach audiences all about how this family of instruments makes music out of metal and wind. Age 3+


NSO Pops: Space, the Next Frontier 

Jun 1 - Jun 2, 2018

Explore the sights and sounds of deep space and the music, art, and fiction that it has inspired as the NSO and NASA present a celebration of science fact and fiction in honor of NASA’s 60th anniversary.

On Sale 11/15/2017


NSO Pops: Audra McDonald

Tue, Jun 19, 2018, 8:00 PM

As beloved on Broadway and opera stages as she is in her roles in film and on television, iconic singer and actress Audra McDonald joins the NSO for an exquisite selection of her favorite music.

On Sale 11/15/2017


NSO Pops: Melissa Etheridge

Jun 22 - Jun 23, 2018

Melissa Etheridge brings her raw, expressive voice and powerhouse guitar prowess to the Concert Hall for a sampling of heartfelt hits from her groundbreaking career.

On Sale 11/15/2017


NSO Pops: A Night of Jazz with Gregory Porter

Wed, Jun 27, 2018, 8:00 PM

An artist whose music is at once timeless yet utterly of its time, Gregory Porter returns for an exciting evening of jazz.

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DECLASSIFIED: Ben Folds Presents with the National Symphony Orchestra, Guest Artists TBA

Fri, Jun 29, 2018, 9:00 PM

Ben Folds presents a curated NSO concert uniting musicians from multiple genres and styles to collaborate with the NSO and create new experiences for audiences and performers alike. Featured guests will be announced at a later date. 

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