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History of the Orchestra of New Spain

The Orchestra of New Spain is a professional period-instrument baroque orchestra and chorus specializing in, but not limited to, the music of Spain and its sphere of New World influence. It was created in 1989 as the Hispanic offering for the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center and to celebrate the Hispanic orientation of the Guadalupe Cathedral in the life of the aborning Dallas Arts District. Seeking to serve the Hispanic community it began its continuing educational activities in West Dallas with in-school concerts in 1996. The Orchestra is perhaps the most significant purveyor of Spanish baroque musical masterworks in the Western Hemisphere with two CDs and its national and international influence assured through the tours it has been invited to undertake for the Spanish Ministry of Culture in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico, to Seattle, and to the National Portrait Gallery for the 2008 US State Department celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Fulbright Program in Spain. In 2012 ONS was invited to tour the Festival of Early Music in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and the Cervantino Festival in Mexico.

The Orchestra’s staged productions of Spanish theater and musical works began in the opening season of the Moody Performance Hall in 2013: a series of annual performances of zarzuela (Spanish operetta), opera and dance that have inspired a renaissance of the same repertory in Madrid’s national theaters. They have brought to Dallas major international Spanish and Hispanic theater artists to work alongside its extraordinary team of Dallas musicians (instrumentalists and singers), actors, and dancers to produce modern premieres of major works that have lain dormant for three centuries.

Fast Facts about ONS

       The Orchestra of New Spain…

  • takes its name from the geographic area claimed by Spanish explorers, which encompassed Mexico and the US Southwest.

  • reaches over 2500 children each season through our youth arts education programs such as In-School Lessons, an annual Summer Strings Camp, and specially edited productions for student. Read more about our programs here!

  • was founded to play as the Hispanic event for the opening of the Meyerson Symphony Center on September 10, 1989 at Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe in what is today's Dallas Arts District.

  • plays a season of eight concerts in Dallas plus School Presentations, local run-outs, and tours domestically and internationally.

  • is a vertically integrated operation: from research and transcription to promotion, performance, and recording.

  • counts as core repertory works by Francisco Courcelle, Jose de Nebra, and Antonio Soler, rediscovered by Artistic Director, Grover Wilkins.

  • repertory includes sacred and secular masterworks, from large and small scale liturgical works (masses and responsories), to tonadillas (vibrant musical theatre pieces), and villancicos (Spanish Christmas carols).

  • Promulgated the first local productions of Spanish playwrights Calderón de la Barca and Lope de Vega with Booker T. Washington High School and SMU.

  • in 1999 created its European affiliate, Madrid Barroco, and released a CD entitled Madrid 1752: Sacred Music from the Royal Chapel in Spain.

  • recorded its first CD titled Francisco Courcelle:  Masses for Celebration in February 2007 at the Meyerson reviewed as “thrilling music” that is “captivatingly performed.”

  • played the U.S. State Department’s 50th anniversary Spain Fulbright concert at the National Gallery in Washington D.C.

  • collaborates with other local organizations in virtually all its concerts: Meadows Museum, French American Chamber of Commerce, Ft Worth based Texas Camerata, Modern Art Museum of Ft Worth, the Fulbright Association, Latino Cultural Center, Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and Conté de Loyo Flamenco Theatre.

  • Artistic Director and Founder, Grover Wilkins wrote the article about Francisco Courcelle in the prestigious and authoritative Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. He regularly researches at the National Archives in the Royal Palace in Madrid.

  • is a 501(c)3 corporation listed under the name Pegasus Musical Society.

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