Since March 1978, the Garland Symphony Orchestra has been dedicated to providing performances of great orchestral music to Garland and its surrounding communities. Over the years, the GSO has presented over 180 concerts featuring the music of more than 200 composers, including the premieres of new works by Texas composers. The orchestra attracts an audience from Garland, Dallas, Richardson, Rowlett, Rockwall, and Sachse.
The orchestra’s first season was led by violinist James Gambino; for the following two seasons, the late Howard Dunn, former conductor of the much regarded Dallas Wind Symphony, took the podium. Mischa Semanitzky took up the GSO’s baton for the 1981-82 season, and was succeeded by Daniel Hornstein.
In 1986, the artistic reins of the Garland Symphony Orchestra were passed to the current Music Director, Robert Carter Austin. Under Maestro Austin’s leadership, the orchestra made the transition from a group of highly dedicated volunteer musicians to a virtuoso ensemble of the finest professional instrumentalists in the DFW Metroplex. The growth to a prestigious, professional ensemble has created a solid orchestra, with a great deal of members who have been meeting new challenges and successes with the GSO for more than 10 years.
Among the many distinguished guest artists who have appeared with the Garland Symphony Orchestra are pianists James Barbagallo, Katia Skanavi, and Oleksiy Koltakov, violinists Eliot Chapo and John Thomson, guest conductor Volodymir Sirenko, Chet Atkins, the Platters, Crystal Gayle, and the Rich-Tones.