The Bismarck-Mandan Orchestral Association began as the Bismarck-Mandan Council for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In 1974 the Chamber Orchestra presented a successful three-day residency in Bismarck and wanted to make Bismarck their first Regional Home City.
By late 1975 interest was growing to start an orchestra in the Bismarck-Mandan area. The Bismarck-Mandan Orchestral Association was formally organized in February 1976 as a non-profit tax-exempt corporation founded as a sponsoring organization for the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra.
The first season of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra was held in 1976-1977, with three concerts under the direction of Loran Eckroth. A unanimous decision was made in 1977 to merge the Bismarck-Mandan Council for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the BMOA under the name of the Bismarck-Mandan Orchestral Association. The Bismarck-Mandan Symphony League was also formed in 1977. It has become a strong supporting arm for the Association.
The Symphony is proud of many things that have been achieved:
- Presentation of a full season of concerts each year, combining classical, contemporary, and popular music for broad appeal to the listening audience.
- 4th of July Spectacular on the Capitol Mall complete with fireworks, where attendance has become a family tradition.
- Linking Music to the Future Education Program which sponsors two education concerts for area 4th graders to experience a symphony concert at the Belle Mehus, Master Classes, and Adult education programs for our community.
- Operatic productions: “Carmen,” the original “Sakakawea” featuring Tammy Hensrud and Korliss Uecker, world-renowned stars of the Metropolitan Opera who are North Dakota natives, and most recently Mozart’s Magic Flute.
- Guest artists from around the globe. Who can forget the excitement generated by the performances of the international sensation Pink Martini, violin virtuosos Henning Krageruud of Norway and Xiang Gao of China, Italian tenor Frank Porretta, Brazilian guitarist David Burgess.
- Outreach concerts to other communities, such as Richardton, Strasburg, Jamestown and Dickinson State University have provided citizens in outlying communities a unique opportunity to experience orchestral performances in beautiful local venues.