How do you get millennials raised on EDM and hip-hop to connect with their local symphony? That’s the truly dire question orchestras around the world are asking—the Dallas Symphony Orchestra among them. Our answer was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that left no doubt about classical music’s relevance in the modern world.
Every Spring, DSO throws a three-week festival called Soluna, a citywide party that celebrates the best in North Texas arts and culture. Over its three weeks, the festival hosts classical concerts, dance productions, lectures and specially curated events, and serves as a critical bridge between the DSO, its donors and its city.
So—how do you turn 20- and 30-something Dallasites into advocates for the symphony? That’s where Encore Live came in, and “Array” was born. Array was a one-night-only, music, art and technology experience, focused on bridging the gap between creative worlds. We knew that in order to connect “pop” and “culture” we had to create an eclectic, one-of-a-kind, multimedia experience that would appeal to a very broad audience.
We selected the Bomb Factory as the event venue, which is a popular spot for young artists and audiences in Deep Ellum. Then we got to work doing what we do best—creating a truly magical series of moments. Knowing that the DSO wanted collaborations that entertain and attract people in their 20s and 30s, we thought about local groups we could build collaborations around, while also incorporating the DSO symphony into the mix. The mash-ups were carefully selected to create an atmosphere of positive tension that would propel each collaborator outside their comfort zone.
Collaborations included Nas with members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Big Gigantic with the Dallas Mavericks Drumline, Kaleo with the Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet, and Jacob Banks with the local Booker T. Washington H.S. Gospel Choir. Additional performances featured Cure for Paranoia & Zhora. Each band / performer’s individual fan base showed up for the concert and were rewarded with an amazing night of music, art and technology, putting the spirit of collaboration front and center.
Our job was to combine worlds of relevant music, art, technology and local acts to create an unforgettable experience. So, in addition to the very thoughtful talent line up, we also used the space at Canton Hall to bring local art installations to attendees. The exhibit was made up of digital projections, virtual reality headsets and interactive mapping. Attendees were treated to great food from local food trucks and lasting memories in the form of photos taken in the digital photobooth.
After the event, people took to social media to talk about their experience at Array, saying things like: “Thank you #ARRAYdallas & @solunafestival for such a great set of artists with beautiful local Dallas performers to help make their set look/sound even [better] than I’ve ever imagined.” Tiney Ricciardi from Guide Live said, “Array no doubt took an immense amount of work to coordinate, and that organizers pulled it off is worth celebrating. If Soluna made it a recurring event featuring different bands and local talent, Array could become one of the most notable concerts of each year.”