Sound Scene 2021: Emerge

Register in advance now!
All programming on June 27 will take place online via Zoom. RSVP is required in order to receive a link.

Now in its 14th year, Sound Scene  is a free, all-ages sound festival that celebrates the creative audio community in Washington, D.C. and around the world. Tune in from wherever you are to access some of the most innovative projects in the world of sonic art. This online component of Sound Scene 2021 will occur the day after an in-person presentation of installations and programs at Union Market’s Dock 5 on Saturday, June 26. More information and a full schedule of events are available here.

American Sign Language (ASL) will be provided by Joyful Signing throughout all of Sound Scene.

This program was organized in partnership with DC Listening Lounge.


11 am EST Workshop, Crystal Radio and other weird ways to be heard with Sonia Herrero

12 pm EST Planetary Resilience: a conversation with artists whose work explores themes of suffering and strength, with Kelsey Bosch, David Exume, Kathleen Ma. Screening/exhibition follows.

1 pm EST Spatial Garden by TWC, an introduction to an audio field trip app (for your next visit to the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden)

1:15 pm EST DC Music Map Upload-A-Thon, a step-by-step session about how to upload your favorite music hot spots.

1:30 pm EST Identity and Emergence: a conversation with artists Hyenaz, Shayok Misha Chowdhury and Kameron Neal. Followed by a screening.


5 pm EST  Un(re)solved by FRONTLINE PBS: a look behind the scenes into the making of this multi-platform multi-media interactive installation.

5:30 pm EST  Ecology Fieldwork and Sound: a conversation with artists Barry Schmetter, David Mordini, Ben Pagac, Ana Maria Kleymeyer, Pablo Sanz. Followed by exhibitions.

6:15 pm EST Composing Emergence: a conversation with artists Mike Khoury, Ben Hall, Tanya Thielke a.k.a.Tantroniq, Matthew Tomkinson, Josh Hite, Rosemary Holliday Hall. Exhibition/screening followed by conversation and Q+A with artists.

7:30 pm EST Physical Spaces: a conversation about how space impacts sound and sound impacts space with Madona Tyler LeBlanc, Layne Garrett, Manny Arciniega (plus select Gestalt artists). Screening followed by Q+A with artists.



Film: Punk the Capital

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We strongly recommend claiming a ticket to ensure your seat. This program is expected to be at capacity.
Questions? Email
Hirshhorn Members, email

Running time: 88 min

Don’t miss the Washington, DC premiere of Punk the Capital, a new documentary that explores how punk-rock took hold in DC and grew into a movement that redefined a music genre and became a model for DIY culture.

When punk rock exploded in DC in the late 1970s, it was a mighty inter-generational convergence of powerful music, friendships, and clear minds. Punk the Capital takes us through that transformative period (1976-1983), situating DC punk and DC harDCore within the larger narratives of rock n’ roll. Featuring key members of bands such as Bad Brains, Minor Threat and The Slickee Boys, this documentary makes clear why both the sounds and ideas from this celebrated music scene continue to influence and inspire around the world today. True to its DIY culture, the film incorporates a recently unearthed trove of Super-8 footage and a lyrical, collage approach.

This film screening is presented as part of the programming for Sound Scene: Amplify and in partnership with DC Listening Lounge, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Folklife Festival. 

Punk the Capital, a film by James Schneider, Paul Bishow, and Sam Lavine.

We encourage you to arrive early. Ring Auditorium seating is limited. Any open seats may be released to walk-up visitors 10 minutes before the program.

This film screening is presented as part of the programming for Sound Scene: Amplify and in partnership with DC Listening Lounge, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Folklife Festival.

Smithsonian Year of Music logo 


Sound Scene XII: AMPLIFY

Advance registration is recommended; walk-ups are welcome.

Sound Scene XII: AMPLIFY, organized in partnership with sound collective DC Listening Lounge, unites local audio artists with national and international creators to transform the Hirshhorn into an interactive sonic wonderland.

This year Sound Scene will “AMPLIFY” invisible forces, previously silenced voices, and unexpected music through stories, sound art, live performances, and interactive exhibits.

Sound Scene XII: AMPLIFY will expand your audio expectations in ways you haven’t yet imagined.

A full schedule of workshops, screenings and live performances available here.
Free and all-ages welcome.

For ASL interpretation, please contact

This program is supported by the Smithsonian Year of Music.

Sound Scene XI: Mapping Memory

Advance registration recommended

Sound Scene XI, organized in partnership with local sound collective DC Listening Lounge, unites audio artists and contributors from across the globe to transform the Hirshhorn into a free and interactive sonic wonderland. This year’s Sound Scene focuses on the theme of “Mapping Memory.”

Over two days, you can rest in a dream tent, hold sound in your hands and listen through your fingertips, and build your own wind chime, Take a guided audio architectural tour, practice mixing samples into a live DJ set, and transform words from speech to text, and then into dance.

Now in its 11th year, Sound Scene features sonic surprises and thought-provoking listening opportunities for all ages.

Live performances will take place throughout each day by artists such as Layne Garrett, David Schulman, members of the National Symphony Orchestra, Smithsonian Folklife Festival visiting artists, and dance ensemble Errant Movement. A full schedule of live performances is available online.

Small group workshops (all first come, first served) will include a guided sonic meditation inspired by Pauline Oliveros, an opportunity to remix playground rhymes into new hip-hop song, and guided listening sessions, and more.

This project is supported in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Image: Peace Bells by artist and musician Elliot Bergman at Sound Scene X: Dissonance, 2017. Photo by Bobak Shafiei