100 Dallas Creatives: No. 40 Festival Orchestrator Anna Sophia van Zweden

In front of a piece by Jessica Warboys at an art fair in New York.
In front of a piece by Jessica Warboys at an art fair in New York.

Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.

Earlier this year, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra unveiled its secret weapon. While Jaap van Zweden builds a top level orchestra, his daughter has been at work behind the scenes helping him strategize how to bring in younger audiences. She's chaired the annual gala, planning a fun after party that stretches late into the night. And it was announced in April that she will serve as the Director of Festival Advancement for the Soluna Festival, which is set to launch in May 2015.

Her multi-disciplinary background, primarily in visual art and museum studies, has allowed her to approach the festival in an inclusive way, pairing international visual artists with the DSO, inviting dance companies to participate, and working the Dallas Museum of Art to program performance art. And that's just a tiny piece of what's to come. We're excited to see how it all comes together, but with Anna Sophia orchestrating its first year, we're expecting great things.

How did Soluna come to be? Well, the Dallas Symphony, they have been thinking about a festival for a while and a lot of orchestras do festivals. My father wanted to do it a little bit different. He's very much into opening up the symphony for younger audiences, so it's always been a theme we've had in the back of our minds. And I've chaired the Dallas Symphony Gala for five years now, even though my focus is on art, so I've been involved for years already. And we were developing these ideas and I was meeting with Johnathan Martin, the CEO of the DSO, to talk about the festival, at the same time I'm meeting with these artists and galleries in New York who wanted to be involved with something in Dallas because the buzz in the international art scene is growing about Dallas. So all this talking led to an interest in collaborating with all the institutions in the arts district, but also to bring in artists from all over the world to work with an orchestra.

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Is there a model of something like this? No. That's the exciting part and also the challenging part. The infrastructure here, there's not anything else like it in the world, and that makes the festival different already. There are great performance art festivals, like Performa in New York is an inspiration, but it can never be exactly like that, because it's a different set up and structure. And the heart of it is classical music and visual art, but not every program contains music. There are other festivals that are very interesting, and I look at them for inspiration, but Dallas is so significantly different than any other city in the world.

So you're really hoping for it be a festival about Dallas? Yes, absolutely. I feel very strongly about producing work in Dallas that we then send out into the world.

Tell me a bit about where the theme comes from. The theme is "Destination (America)" with America in parentheses and it's about America and Europe, the old world versus the new world, and destination and belonging, and traveling a bit. You can stretch that theme quite a bit and all the different projects within the festival are so diverse. I really wanted to curate a program that's interesting for people from different backgrounds.

It also seems like the theme might be a little personal for you. Yes, it is. And also for my father who came to America when he was 16, he went to Juiliard on a scholarship, and then moved back to Amsterdam afterward. When he got the job in Dallas it was basically for him coming back to America.

Do you call Dallas home? I do now. I lived here for the first time in 2009 when I interned for the Dallas Museum of Art, and then I went home to finish my thesis, which I wrote as a comparison between the American museum system and the Dutch museum system and the role of the collector and the patron. I came back and worked on MTV: Redefine, and I had made a lot of good friends. I moved to New York to do the art and business program at Sotheby's, because I wanted to be in New York for a year. But I always stayed in touch with people here, and I love the mentality and openness of people here. Every time the plane lands in Dallas, I feel home here. That can do mentality rubs on you, I got that can do bug from Dallas. People really want to make Dallas better and greater, and that's what I love.

Do you have a favorite art form? I've always been interested in performance and video art, that's my love. I studied film for a few years. You can see a painting, and sometimes it stays with you forever, but if you see a performance you remember it forever. There's a lot out there I'm excited about.

With a dad like yours, did you ever study classical music? I never did. I was always more interested in visual art, and painting. But I think classical music is so important for everyone to have in their life. Music is such a beautiful thing. I feel very strongly about getting that to a younger audience.

100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans 65. Writerly Wit Noa Gavin 64. Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia 63. Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi 62. Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson 61. Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch 60. Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings 59. Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks 58. Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz 57. Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry 56. Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio 55. Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick 54. Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens 53. Experimental Filmmaker and Video Artist Mike Morris 52. Flowering Fashioner Lucy Dang 51. Insightful Artist Stephen Lapthisophon 50. Dallas Arts District 49. Farmer's Market Localvore Sarah Perry 48. Technological Painter John Pomara 47. Progressive Playmakers Christopher Carlos & Tina Parker 46. Purposive Chef Chad Houser 45. Absorbing Artist Jeff Gibbons 44. Artistic Integrator Erica Felicella 43. Multi-talented Director Tre Garrett 42. Anachronistic Musician Matt Tolentino 41. Emerging Veteran Actor Van Quattro


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