The Orchestra was created by its Music Director in Dallas’ Guadalupe Cathedral in 1989 to celebrate the Cathedral’s role in the aborning Dallas Arts District. The Orchestra played annually in the Meyerson Symphony Center thru the 1992 Columbian Quincentenary, in an acoustical setting perfect for its repertory of orchestral-choral masterworks of composers Francisco Courcelle and José de Nebra. Among smaller performance halls was the Meadows Museum with its world-class collection of Spanish art. The Orchestra’s annual partnership with the Meadows features small form concerts pairing visual and musical works of Spanish history in carefully curated concerts.
At the invitation of JPMorgan Bank, Wilkins as conductor of the Spanish Radio-Television Orchestra, made a historic first recording (1995) of works by Soler, de Nebra and Courcelle. For the 1999 Jubilee Year the Archbishop of Madrid commissioned Wilkins to create an orchestra for a Matins service in the Almudena Cathedral for which event a CD recording was made on the Dorian label as ‘Madrid 1752’. That orchestra became Madrid Barroco, a partner in Spain for performance of the little known baroque repertory.
In 1996 the Orchestra established a foothold in the predominantly Hispanic area of Oak Cliff with the creation of annual children’s concerts in local schools and churches. Since then its educational activities have taken on a major role, including annual String Camps with DISD, and school performances of major staged works. Education
Opportunities for touring were supported through the Spanish Department of State for Culture to promote that country’s music in the US through performances by the Orchestra in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Houston, New Orleans and Seattle. For the 50th Anniversary of the Spanish Fulbright Commission the Orchestra was hosted by the US Department of State to present a concert of its Spanish repertory in the National Gallery of Washington.
To celebrate the 2010 Bicentennial celebrations of Mexican independence the Orchestra was invited for its first foreign concert appearance, in Chihuahua, Mexico. Subsequent performances of repertories of Mexican and Bolivian baroque music led to invitations to tour under the auspices of the 2012 Festival of Early Music of Chiquitania, Bolivia, and later that year to the Cervantino Festival of Mexico. In 2015, the Orchestra appeared at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas as part of the Siglo d'Oro Festival.
The importance of links between music and theater, led Wilkins to collaborations with Booker T Washington High School of the Arts in a student production of Calderon de la Barca’s Ni amor se libra de amor which toured Dallas schools in 2002, with period music played by the Orchestra. Subsequently in 2006 Lope de Vega’s La discreta enamorada played for two weeks in Spanish and English with the SMU Theater Department directed by Gustavo Tambascio and music by Wilkins.
With the 2012 opening of the City Performance Hall of the Dallas Arts District the Orchestra has launched an annual program of staged theatrical productions. Its first production, of the 1711 zarzuela of Sebastián Durón’s Nuevas armas de amor (Cupid’s New Weapons of Love) brought unanimous praise for its attention to period details of staging, costumes and sets. In 2014, the staged production turned to the 20th century with a flamenco/folkloric dance collaboration The Rise of Flamenco based on Manuel de Falla’s El corregidor y la molinera, and Garcia Lorca’s Canciones Antiguas. The 2015 production Villa y Corte, the Music of Goya, combined 18th century tonadillas along with the music of Brunetti and Boccherini.