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Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith.

Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith. Photo courtesy of Vijay Iyer

  • Discussions, Demonstrations, and Performances at the Future of Music Public Forum

    As part of the Smithsonian Year of Music, the Future of Music Public Forum will take place in Washington, D.C., December 12 through 14, 2019. The forum will feature visions regarding the future of music from artistic, technological, sociological, legal, business, and educational perspectives, for both industry insiders and the general public of music enthusiasts.

    Fascinating trends will be discussed by experts from multiple fields, including representatives from the Smithsonian, NPR, South by Southwest, No Depression, The Baffler, Bandcamp Daily, Future of Music Coalition, the Recording Academy, the American Association of Independent Music, Dischord Records, Cash Music, Berklee College of Music, Teach to Learn, MIT Media Lab, #DontMuteDC, and more. Taking place at the National Museum of American History, the Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, all events are free and open to the public.

    Discussions and demonstrations will be centered around five main themes: Sharing, Creating, Inventing, Learning, and Engaging. See a full description on

    Thursday, December 12

    Performance: Lula Wiles
    7:30–8:45 p.m.
    Freer Gallery of Art

    Friday, December 13

    Session 1
    Hall of Music, National Museum of American History 

    Listening and Audiences: How has listening changed with curating an experience, or use of algorithms? How has technology facilitated and disrupted listening?

    • Lauren Onkey, Senior Director of NPR Music
    • Todd Puckhaber, SXSW, Senior Music Event & Programming Manager
    • Hilary Saunders, Managing Editor, No Depression
    • Gwen Thompkins, NPR veteran and host of WWNO's Music Inside Out

    Session 2
    Noon–1 p.m.
    SC Johnson Center, National Museum of American History

    Considering changes in music industry, what are the next steps and how do we predict future changes as an industry?  

    • Daryl Friedman, Chief Industry, Government, & Member Relations Officer, Recording Academy
    • Richard Burgess, President & CEO, American Assoc. of Independent Music
    • Brian Lowit, Label Manager, Dischord Records
    • Maggie Vail, Executive Director, Outreach & Education, Cash Music
    • Robbin Ahrold, President, Century Media Partners LLC

    Session 3
    2:30–3:30 p.m.
    Conference Room, Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art

    Small Is Beautiful: Connecting diverse audiences and creators, curated by Future of Music Coalition 

    • Marc Masters, Bandcamp Daily
    • Kevin Erickson, Director, Future of Music Coalition
    • Chad Clark, Singer, Guitarist of Beauty Pill
    • Maureen Andary, Musician
    • Liz Pelly, The Baffler and Silent Barn 

    Session 4
    4–5 p.m.
    Conference Room, Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art

    “Hey, That's My Song!” What is the future of copyright and licensing laws?

    • Michael Johnathon, Woodsongs Radio Hour 
    • Martha Dantzic, Quicksilver Productions
    • Cecille Chen, Director of Business Affairs and Royalties, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

    Performance: Mark de Clive Lowe
    7–8 p.m.
    Ring Auditorium, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

    Saturday, December 14

    Session 1
    Conference Room, Freer|Sackler Galleries of Art

    K-12: How do we use music to educate in the classroom/museum? How are we framing the benefits?

    • Carol O’Donnell, Director, Smithsonian Science Education Center
    • Leila Ramagopal Pertl, Instructor in Music Education and Harp, Lawrence University
    • Loneka Wilkinson Battiste, Assistant Professor of Music Education, University of Tennessee 
    • Lynn Tuttle, Director of Public Policy, Research, & Professional Development, National Association for Music Education
    • Teng Chamchumrus, Executive Officer, Smithsonian Office of the Associate Provost for Education and Access

    Session 2
    Noon–1 p.m.
    SC Johnson Center, National Museum of American History

    University & Graduate School: How do we prepare music professionals for a Twenty-First-Century audience? What is the relevancy of conservatories? 

    • Ross Ramsay, Associate Professor of Piano, Berklee College of Music
    • Derek Beckvold, Co-founder and Director, Teach to Learn
    • Anne Rasmussen, Professor of Music and Ethnomusicology, William & Mary
    • Deborah Wong, Professor of Ethnomusicology, UC Riverside
    • Brian Pertl, Dean, Lawrence Conservatory of Music

    Session 3
    2:30–3:30 p.m.
    Hall of Music, National Museum of American History

    How is music a catalyst for community? How does music affect gentrification, changing landscapes, activism?

    • Quetzal Flores, Musician and Activist 
    • Ronald Moten, Activist, Go-Go Promoter, #DontMuteDC
    • Dwandalyn Reece, Curator of Music and Performing Arts, National Museum of African American History and Culture
    • Amanda Mackaye, Fort Reno Concert Series 
    • Sojin Kim, Curator, Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

    Session 4
    4–5 p.m.
    SC Johnson Center, National Museum of American History


    • “Guitar Machine” from MIT Media Lab’s Sang-won Leigh & Abhinandan Jain
    • “Star Songs—From X-rays to Music” by Gerhard Sonnert, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard and Smithsonian

    Performance: Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith
    7:30–8:30 p.m.
    Freer Gallery of Art

  • Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Cultural Vitality Program, educational outreach, and more.