The Texas Chamber Orchestra (= TCO) (formerly Chamber Symphony of the Metrocrest, CSM) provides musical programs for the Metrocrest cities of Farmers Branch, Carrollton, Coppell and Addison. Referred to as the 'Doorway to Dallas', the Metrocrest retains much of its original country atmosphere while expanding to accommodate the growing number of families and diverse range of businesses that have moved to the area over the past three decades. Each city retains its own special character, but the four share a special cultural, economic, and social bond that sets them apart from the rest of the sprawling Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex and makes them, in combination, the equivalent of a self-sufficient, medium-size metropolitan community.
Since its inception as the Carrollton Chamber Orchestra in 1985 under the musical direction of Nicholas Paraskevas and now as the Texas Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Artistic Advisor José Feghall, TCO has grown from a small string group to a full orchestra complement of professional musicians performing in various Metrocrest locations. Many of TCO's musicians also play with the Dallas Opera Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Chamber Orchestra and the Richardson Symphony, but appreciate the 'niche' repertoire offered by TCO. Due to its size and flexibility, TCO has the opportunity to offer works that larger groups cannot readily program because it would mean too many musicians would sit idle. In addition to the standard symphonic works and solo concerti that larger groups perform, TCO has presented such pieces as J.S. Bachís Six Brandenburg Concerti, Coplandís Appalachian Spring Suite in the original chamber version, Johannes Brahmssí G Major Sextet with string orchestra, Ravelís Introduction & Allegro, and the Dmitri Shostakovichís String Quartet No. 8, Op. 110.
The Philosophy of TCO has always been to collaborate - to build bridges - rather than compete with other artistic groups. In 1988, the orchestra first performed with a guest group when it presented opera excerpts with the Vocal Department of Texas Women's University. Since then, the orchestra has performed with a diverse list of artists including the Texas Boys Choir, the Brookhaven College Chorus, The Texas Saxophone Quartet, and the choirs from the local high schools, Newman Smith and R. L. Turner. There also have been numerous guest soloists who have added color and depth the TCO's performances.
Over the years, the orchestra's free Labor Day concert in Carrollton, plus a free program in Farmers Branch, have become a tradition. In 1990, TCO began to offer a series of free informal and informative presentations for people of all ages called Backstage Visits that it continues to offer today. The concept expanded to productions of free educational presentations for children called Kinder Concerts. Concerts also have been presented at the Carrollton and Farmers Branch libraries.