In what might be the most talked-about event of the Dallas Symphony's inaugural Soluna International Music & Arts Festival, the orchestra will join forces for a one-of-a-kind concert with St. Vincent's Annie Clark, the Dallas-raised musician who recently won the Grammy for best alternative album.
To prepare for the sold-out May 17 performance -- which because of weather has been moved from Strauss Square to the Winspear Opera House -- Clark has been working with noted composer and conductor David Campbell on new arrangements of St. Vincent songs. An interesting side note about Campbell is that he's Grammy winner Beck's father and has worked on several of his son's albums. He's also worked with countless other best-selling artists on their projects.
"Google him and you'll see that he's arranged music on basically every record you've ever heard," Clark says by phone from a Memphis hotel room. "I'm so excited about this. The Dallas Symphony has been so incredibly generous with their willingness to try some kind of out-there staging to make it a really special and bizarre show."
Here's more from our chat with Clark.
What do you mean by special and bizarre?
It's not going to be just a rock-band-plays-with-an-orchestra show. It'll be way more interactive and way less, um, Aerosmith.
Oh, so no cover of "Dream On"?
[Laughs.] Not this time, not this time.
What was the process like in working with Campbell on the arrangements?
I sent him a number of St. Vincent songs -- both live and recorded versions. I picked songs that I thought would shine with an orchestra. The premise was that, rather than just kind of playing pre-existing parts and making songs bigger, that the orchestra would be its own specific character within the piece. They get to be the Greek chorus ... or an alien life form.
So it's more of an interplay between you and the symphony?
Exactly. I just thought if I was going to play with an orchestra that I might as well make it fun for everyone involved. The arrangements are beautiful and wild. I sent David the songs and we talked at length about the premise. He wrote scores, and then I went to his house and we fine-tooth-combed everything. And I'll go down early to Dallas to get with the orchestra and make sure it's feeling right. I'll bring in Annie-B Parson, whom I've worked with before, for the staging of it all.