About the Symphony

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.

Mission Statement

The Garland Symphony Orchestra is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the quality of life in our growing and diverse community by inspiring, entertaining and involving citizens and organizations from Garland and beyond through music concerts of superior cultural and educational value.

Performance Venue

The Granville Arts Center provides two elegant proscenium theatres with seating for 720. The Main auditorium features a 55 foot fly loft with a counterweight system.  The Arts Complex also includes the Plaza Theatre which is located at 521 W. State Street on the Square in downtown Garland.  The Plaza Theatre has seating for 350.


The orchestra is comprised of 93 professional musicians. Over 19 different nations are represented in the musician roster and this talent is complemented with internationally renowned featured soloists.


The GSO is one of the five biggest core arts & culture attractions in Garland

The GSO is a Level 1 Artistic organization per the Texas Commission for the Arts classification

Artistic Organization – Level 1:
Artistic organizations further the artistic and cultural offerings of the community or state with a mission that clearly speaks to the arts or a specific arts discipline. In addition, these organizations are recognized by the IRS with their final letter of determination as a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit organizations incorporated in Texas, for over one year.

A Level 1 Organization:

  • has a cash operating budget of $50,000 or more for the last completed fiscal year
  • maintains an annual operating budget of less than $1,000,000
  • may have full-time, part-time, paid or volunteer artistic and management personnel
  • must operate as a full-time arts organization offering public programs on a year-round basis