Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

About Performing Arts

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, March 4, 2021 - 5:00 p.m. ET

Tom Stoppard is a towering and beloved literary figure known for his dizzying narrative inventiveness and intense attention to language. Hermione Lee discusses her new biography of one of our greatest living playwrights with longtime Stoppard collaborator Carey Perloff in a fascinating examination of his work and a riveting look at the life a remarkable man.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. ET

In a 2-session series, join Sara Lukinson, a longtime filmmaker and writer for the Kennedy Center Honors, as she looks at the lives and careers of some performing arts legends and explores what made the work of these actors and musicians so moving, memorable, and exciting. This session focuses on film heroes.

Course
Monday, March 8, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Washington, D.C., has given much to the musical world beyond its best-known exports Duke Ellington and the punk and go-go scenes. In a 3-session series, join musician, broadcaster, and historian Ken Avis as he explores the area’s lesser-known, remarkable, and fascinating musical avenues across the decades and why they could only have developed here. This session focuses on D.C.'s rock, go-go, and rhythms and blues legacy.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The United States didn’t invent cinema, but over the last century it became an American institution. Using clips from movies ranging from Stagecoach to The Dark Knight, film critic Noah Gittell considers a trio of American archetypes that emerged at key points in Hollywood history: the Cowboy, the Rogue Cop, and the Orphan Protector.

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

He’s the top! American music specialist Robert Wyatt leads a musical journey through Cole Porter’s dazzling career on Broadway and in Hollywood, his personal tragedies, and his legacy of some of the most deliciously witty, provocative, and elegant contributions  to the great American songbook.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In the years after World War II, television blossomed as a creative medium, with live dramatic shows like “Kraft Television Theater” and “Playhouse 90” showcasing the talents of soon-to-be-famous performers, directors, and writers. But this golden age was a short one, as was New York City’s dominance as a center of production. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, explores the forces behind the demise.

Course
Tuesday, March 23 to April 13, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

With the works of Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and other 19th- and 20th-century composers, Russia has provided some of the most exciting and original music in the repertoire today. In a two-part series, concert pianist Rachel Franklin combines lectures and piano demonstrations to trace the turbulent historical movements that acted both as backdrop and engine for a nation’s fascinating musical evolution. Note: This is Part II of a two-part course.

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, April 11, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. ET

In a 2-session series, join Sara Lukinson, a longtime filmmaker and writer for the Kennedy Center Honors, as she looks at the lives and careers of some performing arts legends and explores what made the work of these actors and musicians so moving, memorable, and exciting. This session focuses on string musicians.

Course
Tuesday, April 13 to June 1, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET (Performance on Tuesday, June 8, 2021)

If you’ve always wanted to learn the language and elements of musical notation and composition or are a singer or instrumentalist who has never mastered reading music, here’s the perfect opportunity. In an interactive course leading to a performance, conductor Ernest Johnson guides participants 55 and older in developing the foundation every musician needs.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, April 17, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

In the 1960s and ’70s, the Black Arts Movement permeated rural and urban cities and towns in the U.S., drawing on the blues, jazz, and Black folk culture and idiomatic expressions as its foundation. Michele L. Simms-Burton, scholar of African American and Africana studies, explores the cultural producers working in music, literature, art, theater, film, and the press who defined the movement.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Walk the virtual red carpet with Washington City Paper film critic Noah Gittell in an evening that focuses on all things Oscar, from Academy Awards history and trivia to discussions of this unusual year's nominations and behind-the-scenes stories.

Course
Monday, May 3 to Friday, May 7, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET

Popular speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin combines lectures and piano demonstrations to explore the social, political, religious, and cultural influences that shaped the output of France’s great composers.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

A fascinating look at the history of movie theaters examines how the experience of moviegoing has changed over the decades—and whether movie theaters will even survive in the age of streaming services.

Lecture/Seminar
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Blossoming in Vienna and spreading like a mania through Europe, the waltz proclaimed a new freedom of sexual expression and individual liberties in the early 19th century. Classical music and opera expert Saul Lilienstein traces the development of a musical form and a dance that changed history.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

During the 1920s and 1930s, Cairo’s lively music, theater, film, and cabaret scene was dominated by women who were entrepreneurs and owners as well as celebrities. Discover the rich histories of the independent figures who offered a new vision for women in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, May 22, 2021 - 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. ET

“The play’s the thing” declared Hamlet, but nowadays he could easily have substituted “the film.” Speaker and concert pianist Rachel Franklin combines commentary and piano demonstrations to explore how master composers such as William Walton, Nino Rota, Patrick Doyle, and others illuminate Shakespeare’s texts while helping us relate emotionally to his astonishing stories on the screen.

Lecture/Seminar
Saturday, June 5, 2021 - 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET

Musicologist and pianist Daniel Freeman pays tribute to iconic composer Johann Sebastian Bach and some of his greatest orchestral works in this day highlighted by music and video recordings.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Mouse rules! Over the last nine decades, the Walt Disney Company has transformed every facet of the entertainment business. Author Brian Rose examines the secrets behind the development of this still-growing powerhouse, tracing the remarkable evolution of a small cartoon studio in 1923 into the most powerful force in worldwide media today.