The 20 Things You Need to Know For 2011

We figured out the people, places, and ideas that matter this year in Dallas. You're welcome.

The DSO in rehearsal photography by Manny Rodriguez

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will finally get the acclaim it deserves.

Japp van Zweden photography by Manny Rodriguez
We’ve been hearing the hype since Jaap van Zweden arrived in 2008 to take the helm of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It’s more than talk, of course. The symphony has never sounded so good. The dynamic Dutch music director commands energetic, vibrant performances from his musicians. And as van Zweden makes his rounds to other orchestras in the United States and abroad, rave reviews lead local boosters to expect bigger things for the DSO.

Despite the musical success, however, the symphony has been struggling through its toughest financial times in recent memory (though a generous $20 million gift is helping). One of the more prominent ways this belt tightening has manifested is with the cancellation of a planned 2010 tour of Europe. That means—besides the summer residency the symphony takes up in Vail, Colorado—to hear van Zweden and the DSO, you had to be in Dallas.

In 2011, that changes. The orchestra travels to New York to perform Steven Stucky’s searing, soulful “August 4, 1964” at Carnegie Hall in May. It’s an attention-grabbing setup: a Texas ensemble tackling a piece set during a turbulent day in Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency. And so, on one of the world’s biggest music stages, van Zweden and the DSO will prove that they deserve to be considered among the nation’s best. —PETER SIMEK