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.
As a non-profit organization, the BMSO aims to provide outstanding cultural opportunities in central and western North Dakota. These values, derived directly from our mission and vision statements, help focus our work and guide institutional decisions.