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Sunday Concerts

The Sunday Concerts series at the Phillips is one of the longest running music series in Washington, DC. Put together by Duncan Phillips’s assistant Elmira Bier, who served as the first Director of Music at The Phillips Collection, this series has run for over 75 years. The performances regularly feature celebrated domestic and international performers, pieces from classic to living composers, and an astonishing amount of debuts and premiers. Performers range from established, well-regarded artists to promising young musicians.

The art hanging on the walls of the Music Room is regularly curated to fit with the themes of each concert. The setting of music performances not only within a museum but in a room specifically designed to contain music with art adds to the signature aspects of Phillips Music.

Leading International Composers

Since 2009, The Phillips Collection has presented Leading International Composers, a unique series which profiles some of the most exciting composers of our time. Presenting an opportunity to delve into a composer’s work in-depth through immersive, boundary-breaking performances by ensembles chosen by each composer, Leading International Composers takes the pulse of today’s thriving new music scene. Delivered in partnership with the University of Maryland, each composer works with students at the UMD School of Music and engages in discussions of their creative work on-stage at The Phillips Collection.


Hans Abrahamsen (Denmark)
Dušan Bavdek (Slovenia)
Avner Dorman (Israel)
José Luis Greco (Spain)
Anders Hillborg (Sweden)
Olli Kortekangas (Finland)
Tristan Murail (France)
Arvo Pärt (Estonia)
Matthias Pintscher (Germany)
Kaija Saariaho (Finland)Fazıl Say (Turkey)
Miroslav Srnka (Czechoslovakia)
Anna Thorvaldsdottir (Iceland)
Erkki-Sven Tüür (Estonia)
Michel van der Aa (The Netherlands)
Pēteris Vasks (Latvia)
Zhou Long (People’s Republic of China)

Concerts are held in The Phillips Collection’s 150-seat Music Room, followed by Coda Sessions, giving audience members a chance to ask questions and converse with these important voices in contemporary music.

Each composer spends time with students and faculty of the University of Maryland’s School of Music at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in College Park to provide insight into their work and hold masterclasses.

In Conversation

Pianist and composer Aarol Diehl in conversation

Pianist Aaron Diehl sits down across the (digital) table to discuss the intersection and impact of music on the photography career of Frank Stewart.

Pianist Aaron Diehl sits down across the (digital) table with Cécile McLorin Salvant to discuss music, art, inspiration, and life as an artist during a pandemic.

Pianist Aaron Diehl sits down across the (digital) table with Tyshawn Sorey to discuss music, art, inspiration, and life as an artist during a pandemic.

photo of pianist and composer Timo Andres. Credit: Josh Navarro

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