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Dallas Symphony Announces 2020 SOLUNA Festival (April 3–21), with Performances by MDD Fabio Luisi, Sō Percussion, Kronos Quartet, James Ehnes, and The Flaming Lips, Plus New Music from Du Yun, Missy Mazzoli and Composer-in-Residence Julia Wolfe

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is pleased to announce programming for the 2020 Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival (April 3–21). Now in its sixth season, SOLUNA presents collaborative and immersive works at venues in the Dallas Arts District and throughout the city of Dallas. Central to this year’s festival is music by leading contemporary composers including Pulitzer Prize-winners Du Yun and DSO Composer-in-Residence Julia Wolfe, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner James Newton Howard, and Missy Mazzoli, one of the first two women to be commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera. Continuing the tradition established at SOLUNA’s inception, this year’s festival includes many new works, including two world premieres and three Texas premieres. As part of the festival, the Dallas Symphony will present three weekends of concerts, two of them under the leadership of Music Director Designate Fabio Luisi, who will launch the festival with the Dallas premiere of Franz Schmidt’s rarely performed oratorio The Book with Seven Seals. And in a kaleidoscopic, one-night-only event, the ever-evolving Grammy-winning psychedelic-rock group The Flaming Lips will join the DSO and and members of the Dallas Symphony Chorus for a complete performance of its classic 1999 release, The Soft Bulletin. Tickets for all SOLUNA events go on sale January 30, at

Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, says:

“SOLUNA is about experiencing music in new ways. This edition of the festival brings the most vibrant voices in contemporary music to North Texas, resulting in performances that can be found nowhere else.”

Gillian Friedman Fox, Director of Contemporary & SOLUNA Programs, comments:

“I am excited for audiences to hear works by some of the most important living artists and composers who are helping to shape the future of classical music. By showcasing important, compelling and challenging performances by artists at all stages of their careers, we are showing how classical music continues to be relevant and enrich our lives in new and exciting ways.”

Highlights of the past five SOLUNA festivals include Jennifer Hudson in concert with the DSO (2019); the orchestral debut of singer-songwriter St. Vincent (2015); the world premiere collaborative performance piece Rules of the Game with choreography by Jonah Bokaer, set design by Daniel Arsham and an original score by Pharrell Williams with David Campbell (2016); and the Texas premiere of Traveling Lady starring Spanish film star Rossy de Palma (2017). Last season’s festival featured the world premiere of Caravan: A Revolution on the Road, by Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard. Combining a live musical performance by Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective with choreography and dance by Rennie Harris and his company, and visual projections, sculpture and projection mapping by Andrew F. Scott, the collaboration reflected each artist’s life experiences and their thoughts and feelings about black lives in the 21st century.

About the 2020 programming: premieres, new productions and more

Du Yun: Windows to Yushu (world premiere)
Crow Museum of Asian Art, University of Texas at Dallas, April 3 at 8pm
Due to its unique geography and centuries of social strife, the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture has become one of the most isolated areas of the world. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Du Yun explores the lasting effects on the children who have grown up in this secluded corner of the world, which has changed little in hundreds of years. The performance will include new music from the composer’s band, OK Miss; design concepts by director Julian Crouch, and clips from an upcoming documentary film about the project. It will be followed by an artist talk with Du Yun and Julian Crouch about their travels and research thus far.

Missy Mazzoli: Song from the Uproar
AT&T Performing Arts Center in Hamon Hall, April 19 at 2pm; April 20 & 21 at 7:30pm
Dallas-based groups Verdigris Ensemble and Voices of Change present an imaginative restaging of Missy Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt. In partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas ATEC LightSquad and Dallas-based stage director and choreographer Joshua L. Peugh, this performance explores societal issues of gender roles, female empowerment and self-discovery through the unique story of Isabelle Eberhardt. Eberhardt lived boldly at the turn of the 20th century, dressing as a man while traveling North Africa, converting to Islam and surviving an assassination attempt. The work is scored for solo soprano, choir and chamber ensemble.

Sō Percussion: “Forbidden Noise”
Moody Performance Hall, April 7 at 7:30pm
The powerhouse contemporary-music ensemble Sō Percussion makes its Dallas debut with “Forbidden Noise.” In this program, which features Julia Wolfe’s Forbidden Love, Jason Treuting’s iconic Amid the Noise and projected visuals submitted by Dallas Independent School District students, Sō Percussion will bring its innovative musical spirit to this year’s SOLUNA lineup. Prior to the day of the performance, the ensemble will also take part in a two-day residency with the DSO’s Young Strings and composer-in-residence Julia Wolfe.

Carmen Menza: Negotiating Dialogues
The Boedeker, April 8 at 4pm
SOLUNA will present the world premiere of Dallas-based artist and musician Carmen Menza’s Negotiating Dialogues, a modern, multi-movement chamber work that employs improvisation. Using software algorithms, projections are triggered by the music and appear around the audience creating a visually and auditorily immersive environment. Created by Menza in collaboration with Mark Menza, Eric Farrar and Joel Olivas, Negotiating Dialogues is a recipient of a grant from the TACA New Works Fund and received support from the City of Dallas Office of Arts & Culture.

Music Director Designate Fabio Luisi
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, April 3 & 4 at 7:30pm; April 5 at 2:30pm; April 9–11 at 7:30pm
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Music Director Designate Fabio Luisi will be in residence for the first two weekends of SOLUNA. He opens the festival with three performances of Franz Schmidt’s The Book with Seven Seals (April 3-5). The Grammy Award-winning conductor is a champion of the Austrian composer’s music and brings this work to Dallas for the first time. With text drawn from the Book of Revelation, The Book with Seven Seals employs a large orchestra, 180-voice chorus, organ and a stellar array of vocal soloists: Herbert Lippert as St. John The Divine, Mika Kares as The Voice Of The Lord, Meghan Kasanders, Kelley O’Connor, Matthew Pearce and Hadleigh Adams. Luisi’s second concert presents Artist-in-Residence James Ehnes in Elgar’s stirring and virtuosic Violin Concerto, on a program with Brahms’s Symphony No. 2 (April 9–11). Luisi and the DSO’s performance of that work will be recorded for an upcoming Brahms cycle on the DSO Live label.

Artist-in-Residence James Ehnes
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, April 9–11 at 7:30pm; April 16–18 at 7:30pm
Moody Performance Hall, April 14 at 7:30pm
In addition to his appearance with the DSO as soloist in the Elgar Violin Concerto, violinist James Ehnes will curate a chamber music concert with DSO musicians on April 14, in which they will perform chamber works by Beethoven, Prokofiev and James Newton Howard at Moody Performance Hall. Ehnes will also lead the DSO in a colorful compendium of English music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The program ranges from Purcell’s stately Baroque Chacony and Britten’s quiet Lachrymae to works that feature the Artist-in-Residence as both soloist and conductor: Vaughan Williams’s pastoral The Lark Ascending, with the solo violin echoing the bird’s exquisite morning song, and Holst’s rarely heard Double Violin Concerto, for which Ehnes will be joined by Concertmaster Alexander Kerr (Michael L. Rosenberg Chair).

A Thousand Thoughts – A live documentary with the Kronos Quartet
The Texas Theatre, April 21 at 7:30pm
Kronos Quartet will make its first Dallas appearance for 13 years in the multimedia performance piece A Thousand Thoughts – A live documentary with the Kronos Quartet, written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Sam Green and Joe Bini. Interacting with the stirring cinematic imagery on screen, Green and the Kronos Quartet will present an important dialogue about the history of 20th- and 21st-century music. The film also includes archival footage and filmed interviews with composers and performing artists Philip Glass, Tanya Tagaq, Steve Reich, Wu Man and Terry Riley.

Soluna Pillar Events
As SOLUNA has evolved, three key events have emerged as perennial fan favorites:

“Passport to the Park”
Klyde Warren Park, April 4 at 12pm
SOLUNA has partnered with Klyde Warren Park since the launch of the festival, and this year, the family-friendly event “Passport to the Park” – a day of free, culturally diverse performances and activities – returns for its fourth edition. This year’s line-up includes Ethiopian singer Meklit, Native American hip hop artist Supaman, Bruce Wood Dance and Greiner Middle School’s Mariachi Los Unicos.

“Music and the Brain”

Moody Performance Hall, April 5 at 5pm
In a continued collaboration with UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, SOLUNA 2020 presents this year’s production of “Music and the Brain.” “Music as Storytelling,” moderated by Dr. Mark Goldberg, will be the focus, investigating how the brain needs and processes stories neurologically. Guest speakers include W.F. Strong, host of “Stories from Texas” on the Texas Standard; Dr. Elizabeth Davenport, Assistant Professor of Radiology and the Advanced Imaging Research Center (AIRC) at UT Southwestern Medical Center; Dr. Nolan Gasser, the chief musicologist for Pandora Media, Inc. and the architect of the Music Genome Project; Dr. Nina Kraus, scientist, inventor and amateur musician who studies the biology of auditory learning at Northwestern University; and Dr. Joseph Maldjian, Professor of Radiology at UT Southwestern, Chief of the Neuroradiology Division and Director of the Advanced Neuroscience Imaging Research Lab. As a part of this event, Drs. Elizabeth Davenport and Joseph Maldjian will lead a research project utilizing the Brain Institute’s magnetoencephalography (MEG) scanners. DSO violinist Bruce Wittrig will be recorded performing a piece of music and then listening to the recording while receiving MEG and MRI scans. His brain scans will be compared to those of a non-musician, and compiled in a multimedia presentation that will be shared during the symposium.

“A Musician’s View”
Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, April 6 at 7pm
“A Musician’s View” returns this season with guest-curation by the DSO’s Composer-in-Residence, Julia Wolfe. In this concert, members of the DSO will perform chamber works on the stage of the Eugene McDermott Concert Hall while offering the audience a unique viewing perspective with seating on the stage and in the choral terrace. Patrons are invited to enjoy post-concert mingling with the musicians and a delicious champagne toast in the Meyerson lobby.

SOLUNA 2020 Partner Events
SOLUNA has enjoyed a strong partnership with the prestigious Dallas Art Fair since the first festival season. This year, SOLUNA and Dallas Art Fair collaborate to bring Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society (NIS) to Dallas. Formed by Abrams in 2010, NIS navigates his compositions for traditional and contemporary instruments, so as to create long-form psychedelic environments. The group’s sound and approach is informed by jazz, minimalism and traditional musics. Its genre-bending, meditative performance will be surrounded by the works of artist and NIS harmonium player Lisa Alvarado.

Several more of Dallas’s leading performing arts organizations join SOLUNA as partners this season. Dallas Black Dance Theatre: Encore! present “Rising Excellence,” which sees dance/choreographic duo Derion Loman and Madison Olandt create a new work with innovative movement styles, an abstract narrative, and percussive and rhythmic dynamics (April 3 and 4). In collaboration with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Dallas Opera performs Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and Poulenc’s La voix humaine (April 3–8). And Dallas’s Avant Chamber Ballet presents “Beauty and Beyond,” a program of world premieres and ballet classics, all with live music (April 17 and 18).

About the SOLUNA Festival
The Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Family SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival showcases internationally-acclaimed guest soloists, visual artists and performing artists alongside leading Dallas-based companies and ensembles. An annual, multi-week interdisciplinary event, SOLUNA stages performances and exhibitions at venues, prominent galleries and performance spaces throughout the Dallas Arts District and beyond. SOLUNA aims to steward authentic collaborations within the Dallas Arts District and serve as a magnet for artists and performers around the world. Through the incorporatation of strong educational and science components, audiences are invited to experience music and art and interact with their Dallas community in new and illuminating ways.

About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Designate Fabio Luisi, presents the finest in orchestral music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, regarded as one of the world’s premier concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches more than 234,000 adults and children through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives annually. The DSO’s involvement with the City of Dallas and the surrounding region includes an award-winning multi-faceted educational program, community projects, popular parks concerts and youth programming. The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900 and is a cornerstone of the unique, 68-acre Arts District in Downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks; the largest district of its kind in the nation. The DSO is supported, in part, by funds from the Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Dallas.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

SOLUNA 2020 Festival Passes
By popular demand, SOLUNA will once again offer two levels of passes for this year’s festival. The Explorer Festival Pass, available for purchase for $75, provides general admission seating for eight signature events, subject to capacity, on a first-come, first-served basis. The Culture Junkie Festival Pass, available for purchase for $150, provides the benefits of the Explorer Pass and also includes dedicated “cut the line” access or special entrance, to the eight signature events. A limited quantity of Festival Passes will be available. Details on tickets and festival passes can be found at Festival passes include one ticket to each of the following SOLUNA programs:

Du Yun: Windows to Yushu
“Music and the Brain”
“A Musician’s View”
Sō Percussion: “Forbidden Noise”
James Ehnes chamber concert
Negotiating Dialogues
Song from the Uproar
Kronos Quartet: A Thousand Thoughts

Patrons can keep up with SOLUNA events, purchase tickets and learn more about artists and partners with the SOLUNA Festival app. The app is currently available and may be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

SOLUNA Festival sponsors:

Capital One, generous sponsor of The Soft Bulletin
O’Donnell Foundation
Texas Commission on the Arts
Texas Instruments – DSO Classical Series Sponsor
PaperCity Dallas – Print & Digital Local Luxury Lifestyle Media Sponsor
Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District
Hersh Foundation – “Music and the Brain” Presenting Sponsor
TACA I The Arts Community Alliance New Works Fund – Negotiating Dialogues Sponsor
TACA | The Arts Community Alliance Artist Residency Fund – “A Musician’s View” Sponsor

Media contacts:
Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: (212) 625 2038; [email protected]
Denise McGovern, Vice President of Communications, DSO: (214) 871-4024; [email protected]
Kristen Turner, Communications Manager, DSO: (214) 871-4063; [email protected]

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© 21C Media Group, January 2020

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