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Kennedy Center Announces Lineup of 2021 Spring and Summer Performances

Performances to feature Alonzo King, Jason Moran, Tiler Peck, and Gregory Porter and more!

Kennedy Center Announces Lineup of 2021 Spring and Summer Performances

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts today announced its lineup of spring and summer performances in the lead-up to its highly anticipated 50th Anniversary season. A mix of in-person, digital, and outdoor performances are designed to safely celebrate a return to live performances for the Center, the National Symphony Orchestra , and Washington National Opera.

On Site Performances and Events

As the country begins to emerge from the pandemic, Millennium Stage will present free weekly, mini outdoor festivals (Thursday-Saturday) curated in partnership with organizations and artists across the city, beginning May 27 and continuing through October 2. Collaborations include United Nations High Commission for Refugees, National Theater for the Deaf, Smithsonian Asian American Center, Creative Nomads, SAMASAMA, D.C. Legendary Musicians, Step Afrika!, members of the Drag community, as well as internal partners, the Center's Culture Caucus, and more to celebrate the legacy and vibrancy of the region. Events will offer an array of musical and cultural styles of performance, film screenings, yoga, and interactive dance and movement classes in a wide variety of styles. All activities will take place outside at the REACH, where the Center's family-friendly outdoor food and wine garden, Victura Park, has re-opened to guests at the River Pavilion. The full schedule of events will be announced at a later date.

On May 28 and June 3, NSO Music Director Gianandrea Noseda returns to the Concert Hall to conduct two concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra. These programs will be performed in front of a live, ticketed, limited capacity, physically distanced audience, and will mark the NSO's first public performances in more than a year. On May 28, the NSO welcomes Grammy Award®-winning pianist Daniil Trifonov for a program that will feature Trifonov and NSO principal trumpeter William Gerlach in Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1, along with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Four Noveletten for Strings and Haydn's Symphony No. 95. On June 3, Noseda is planning a surprise program, with a selection of works by a diverse range of composers and an interactive audience participation element. He will not share the program with the audience in advance and will invite the audience to try and identify each composer and work. Both programs will be recorded and broadcast on the Kennedy Center's Digital Stage+ platform and then subsequently released to the public. The May 28 performance will be available June 15 on Digital Stage+ and publically for 30 days beginning on July 22, and the June 3 concert will be available on Digital Stage+ July 15 and publically for 30 days on August 13. Tickets will be available for sale on May 4. Note for journalists: due to the strict capacity limits, only a handful of media will be accommodated in-person for these concerts.

Happenings around the DMV

Washington National Opera will again bring live operatic performance to multiple communities-including special performances for health care workers, school children, and retirement home residents- in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with its traveling pop-up opera truck. Launched last fall, in collaboration with The Concert Truck-a Baltimore-based company founded by pianists Nick Luby and Susan Zhang-Washington National Opera's Pop-up Opera Truck returns for a mini tour of performances from the WNO Cafritz Young Artists and the premiere of Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems's first opera, Elephant & Piggie present SLOPERA!: A Bite-Sized Opera**. The 20-minute family opera will feature music from the Kennedy Center's newly announced Composer-in-Residence Carlos Simon and will be directed by long-time Kennedy Center collaborator Felicia Curry. Baritone Daniel Smith and soprano Ariana Wehr will bring Elephant and Piggie to life, with a specialized puppet from Los Angeles based puppet shop Viva La Puppet.

NSO community engagement activities continue throughout the spring and early summer with frontline healthcare and essential worker chamber concerts including visits at National Rehabilitation Hospital and National Institutes of Health (NIH). Members of the orchestra will also perform at a school enrollment event at Roosevelt High School along with Petworth PorchFest, which celebrates the arts and community. Additionally, as part of the NSO's Sound Health program, with longtime partner Children's National Hospital, musicians from across the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area have been invited to record performances of lullabies and meditative pieces for The Lullaby Hour. Sharing virtual warmth for children and families during this challenging time, the compiled videos will be broadcast directly to patients and families during a Sleep-Wellness week in early summer via the Hospital's internal media channel, Seacrest Studios.

Additionally, throughout the late spring, musicians from the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra continue community engagement activities with chamber performances in the DMV region, including an outdoor neighborhood concert and a performance for Miriam's Kitchen.

Digital Programming

On Stage at the Opera House returns with An Evening of Jazz and Dance with Alonzo King, Jason Moran, Tiler Peck, and Gregory Porter, Saturday, May 1. The program will feature two new works by visionary choreographer Alonzo King - a duet for award-winning New York City Ballet Principal Dancer and Broadway actress Tiler Peck and dancer Roman Mejia, and a solo for Peck. Both new works will be performed to live music by MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, pianist, and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran and Grammy Award®-winning singer-songwriter Gregory Porter. Additional musical works from the discographies of Moran and Porter will complete this program of movement and music. The performance will be available for on-demand viewing via Digital Stage+ through August 1.

The Kennedy Center will continue to offer a robust array of virtual programs including an expanded line-up of Hip Hop Culture programs like the launch of Council Conversations-a discussion series featuring Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council Members. The series kicks off on Wednesday, April 28 at 6 p.m. with The Power of Club Quarantine: A Special Conversation with D-Nice and Jason King, presented in collaboration with the 2021 Pop Conference. In addition, the program announced its new digital storytelling initiative, #LifeIn5, a video series providing renowned artists and the general public with an opportunity to share the top five hip hop songs that tell their "hip hop story." New virtual offerings from the NSO include a Young People's Concert filmed throughout the Center's campus with award-winning poet and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander; and the WNO will offer a special virtual reality offering featuring tenor Russell Thomas and soprano Tamara Wilson.

Pre-Professional Intensives

Dance Lab

Curated by Artistic Lead, Hope Boykin, the two week Kennedy Center Dance Lab will take place virtually this summer for high school aged students (August 1-15). With the aim to empower young dancers to be impactful change-makers and leaders by providing them with critical career tools, dynamic experiences, and high-caliber training, students have the opportunity to take class and learn from renowned instructors and dancers in the field.

Opera Institute

The WNO Opera Institute returns, with two (June 21-July 2 and July 12-23), two-week fully virtual intensive summer program sessions for high school singers from around the nation who are interested in pursuing opera in college and as a career. New for 2021, the program will have an explicit focus on Citizen Artistry, with students exploring how musicians can utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.

Summer Music Institute

All virtual in 2021, NSO's Summer Music Institute, June 28-July 25, will have two distinct tracks for students to choose from - individual instrumentalist with solo competition and chamber ensemble with chamber festival - designed to expose and prepare students for a 21st century career in music. Students will have opportunities to work with members of the NSO, take part in coaching, and explore additional enrichment activities.

Theater Education

Each summer, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival hosts concentrated professional development seminars and master classes in playwriting, directing, and dramaturgy with leading theatre practitioners mentoring groups of emerging artists from across the country:

The Dramaturgy Intensive (June 17-29), led by Mark Bly in association with Lynde Rosario, in partnership with the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) explores a critical role in the enrichment of theatrical production, and the development and support of new plays.

The Directing Intensive (July 11-24) led by Nicole A. Watson of McCarter Theatre Center, in association with Kelsey Mesa of Taffety Punk Theatre Company, hosts a convening of emerging directors exploring best practices for effective collaboration, rehearsal and production preparation, and discovering the directors' voices.

The Playwriting Intensive (July 11-24) led by Gary Garrison, in association with Jacqueline E. Lawton and TJ Young, features sessions on dramatic structure, professional practice, strategies for amplifying the playwright's individual voice, and this year will feature a rigorous series of labs and workshops for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) playwrights.

To learn more about the Kennedy Center, visit

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