DALLAS, TX (April 11, 2014) – The Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is pleased to announce selected program details for the first annual SOLUNA: International Music & Arts Festival, launching in the Dallas Arts District in May 7-24, 2015. Under the theme Destination (America), the inaugural festival will debut commissioned works and present unique projects by internationally acclaimed music and visual artists such as Pipilotti Rist, Yael Bartana and Monte Laster, as well as curated performances of Leonard Bernstein’s Third Symphony, “Kaddish”.

These details of SOLUNA were revealed at a pre-launch event at the Meyerson Symphony Center on Friday, April 11th, hosted by the DSO on the occasion of the Dallas Art Fair. Artist Ryan McNamara introduced the announcement with a special performance in collaboration with DSO – enveloping the audience with a dynamic experience in symphonic music.

Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist has been commissioned to collaborate with the DSO on a video work, which will receive its world premiere on May 8 & 9, 2015. Rist’s video and audio installations blur the boundaries between visual art and popular culture – exploring the unfamiliar in the everyday. Her works have been widely exhibited at international museums and festivals, including the biennales in Sao Paulo, Venice, Istanbul, the Caribbean and Santa Fe. As the recipient of the Public Art Fund NY Commission in 2000, Rist’s Open My Glad was broadcast on a screen in Times Square.

“When looking for artists to participate in the first SOLUNA and to commission for new works, we wanted to find people on the forefront of latest developments in the art world. People who were expressing things in new ways, across multiple disciplines and forms,” said Anna Sophia van Zweden, Director of Festival Advancement. “What struck me most about Pipilotti was her vision expressed through video. It seemed a perfect fit for collaboration with live orchestral music.”

Filmmaker Yael Bartana will also be participating in the festival. Winner of the prestigious Artes Mundi Prize in 2010, her work focuses on ideas of displacement, belonging and the individual in society. One of her thought-provoking films will be screened prior to performances of “Kaddish”, Leonard Bernstein’s Third Symphony based on the Jewish prayer for the dead. Composed in 1963 in dedication to John F. Kennedy, “Kaddish” is a choral and orchestral piece invoking the complex relationships between man and the Divine, father and son, and man’s power and control in the universe.

“Yael’s films deal so beautifully with the subject of displacement, of the uprooting from a homeland and the role of culture in an individual. Though from a very different time, those same ideas were expressed by Bernstein in his Kaddish,” notes Anna Sophia van Zweden. “Programming those two different voices and mediums together in the same evening brings a very fresh perspective to each work.”

Texan-born Parisian artist Monte Laster will join us for a residency. Laster’s work questions the role of displacement and migration in the construction of identities and the formation of networks. His unique creative process, bringing people of diverse backgrounds into contact with one another results in interactions captured through a variety of mediums. For SOLUNA Laster will engage local organizations and schools in the Dallas area in the creation of a socially conscious work/project.

“SOLUNA and Destination (America) is the occasion for me, as an artist, born and raised in the Dallas area and living for over 25 years in Paris, to question my own identity and process as an “immigrant” artist,” said Laster. “Displacement is at the same time enriching and a tear in one’s soul. My work questions how ones identity is impacted by displacement and how art and the creative process play a role in self-expression and the construction of networks. Life is a process of reconciliation of our past, with our present condition and our future aspirations. ‘Look back but don’t stare’.”

Destination (America) was chosen as the theme of the inaugural festival to focus artistic cohesion and personality, and to provide the broad platform for multiple art forms, artists and media to express their unique perspectives. The 20th century saw an explosion of creative talent globally and saw an extraordinary influx of composers, musicians, visual and performing artists from the Americas, Europe and Asia into the United States. The reasons for this migration largely mirror the essential motivations that have driven millions to the United States for over two hundred years – opportunity, freedom of personal and artistic expression, refuge from war and oppression. The current demographics of the US originate from these migrations, and the changes to our cultural landscape are ongoing for the same reasons.

“There was an influx of creativity in art in America that largely began in the 20th Century and continues today,” said Jonathan Martin, President and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “That influx helped to shape modern American culture, and that’s why we chose Destination (America) as our theme for the first SOLUNA festival. All of our partners and their respective disciplines were shaped by these fresh voices, some looking to express their native land and some looking to shed the old cultures and create a new identity.”

Anchored by DSO performances led by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, SOLUNA: Dallas International Music & Arts Festival will showcase internationally-acclaimed guest soloists, visual artists and performing artists alongside leading Dallas-based companies and ensembles. A new annual, three-week multidisciplinary event, SOLUNA will stage performances and exhibitions across such venues as the Meyerson Symphony Center, the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Museum of Art, as well as other prominent galleries and performance spaces in the Dallas Arts District.

As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, concerts with popular personalities, and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, 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 and concerts, complimentary ticket distribution and children’s programming. The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900, and it 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.

2015 SOLUNA Festival Partners Include: Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Chorus, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Consulado de Mexico en Dallas, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education & Tolerance, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Theater Center, The Goss-Michael Foundation, Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, Klyde Warren Park, Latino Cultural Center, Nasher Sculpture Center, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Southern Methodist University, Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art and UT Southwestern Medical School.

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