Established in November 2000, Texas Medical Center Orchestra is one of very few community orchestras in the United States and the world with its origin in the health professions. It includes physicians, dentists, nurses, medical students, biomedical scientists, social workers and other allied health professionals who have a dedication to music that goes beyond their daily occupations.
The mission of the orchestra is to provide health care professionals with a high-quality outlet for creative expression through the world of symphonic music; perform regularly at affordable concerts that are open to the public and in an accessible venue; attract a diverse audience by commitments to select popular programming reflecting Houston’s diversity; and bring public attention to, and provide programmatic support for, medically related and/or educational charities.
Organizations which have received contributions are: The University of Texas Medical School for heart research; The Ben Taub BOOKS programs; The H.O.M.E.S Clinic; Making a Mark Art Program at Texas Children’s Hospital; HISD’s DeBakey High School for Health Professions; Eye Care for Kids Foundation; The Greater Houston Chapter of the American Red Cross; The National Space Biomedical Research Institute; San Jose Clinic; Haddassah; and The Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation.
In an effort to increase appreciation for classical music in young audiences, Texas Medical Center Orchestra has worked hard to develop an increasingly close relationship with the charter school, KIPP SHARP. During the past three seasons, by coordinating efforts with KIPP SHARP teachers and administrators, TMCO has integrated its musical programming into the school's curriculum. Works that the orchestra performs are taught and discussed in history, art and music classes. The students are invited to display artwork and essays in the Wortham lobby at TMCO concerts,and they, together with their families, are encouraged to at attend. Perhaps, most importantly, TMCO has actually included KIPP choirs and orchestras in concert performances. For instance, KIPP SHARP 3rd and 4th graders have sung onstage in TMCO concerts at Wortham Theater and came to New York City to participate in TMCO’s Carnegie Hall debut on May 24, 2013.
In 2011, TMCO also began to work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Lone Star Chapter in an annual co-sponsorship of a bicycle ride, "Gran Fondo: Texas TMCO" that precedes the MS150 and benefits both organizations. This collaborative program has greatly benefited both charities.
The Texas Medical Center Orchestra is funded in part by grants from Houston Arts Alliance, The Houston Endowment, The Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, the Brown Foundation, Hamman Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts and BBVA Compass.