The 21st Century Consort returns to the Hirshhorn Museum with a special, one night only performance of John Luther Adam’s Earth and the Great Weather. Combining music, language, and sound, Adam’s work takes us on a “journey through the physical, cultural and spiritual landscapes of the Artic”

Under the director of Christopher Kendall, an ensemble of strings, percussionists, and vocalists will perform under the stars in the Museum’s plaza. This program is presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s “Solstice Saturday” events. Enjoy late access to many Smithsonian museums, including the Hirshhorn, which will remain open until 8pm on June 25th.

The composer writes: “Three drum quartets are interspersed throughout the work and are inspired by the elemental power of natural forces in the Arctic and by the ecstatic energy of Alaska Native drumming and dancing…Indigenous peoples have long understood the extraordinary powers of certain landscapes. For those of us who have lost or forgotten our intimate connections with such places, the Arctic is a vast and enduring geography of hope. Somewhere out in that far country of imagination and desire lie the roots of my own faith.”


Founded in 1975 as the 20th Century Consort, the group became the resident ensemble for contemporary music at the Smithsonian Institution in 1978. In next season’s concerts at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and historic St. Mark’s on Capitol Hill, the Consort continues to present finely balanced concerts frequently related to museum exhibitions, featuring music by living composers—often world premieres—along with twentieth-century classics. In 1990, the Consort was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithson Medal in honor of their long, successful association. Under the direction of its founder and conductor, Christopher Kendall, the Consort’s artists include principal players from the National Symphony Orchestra, along with other prominent chamber musicians from Washington, DC, and elsewhere.