The Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra (WMGSO) is a nonprofit community orchestra whose mission is to share video game music by putting on affordable, accessible concerts in the D.C. area.
Founded in 2012, the ensemble has grown to more than 100 members between the orchestra and choir. WMGSO stages concerts three times a year: full ensemble concerts in the fall and spring and chamber concerts in the summer. Additional chamber performances occur at fundraisers, conventions, and community outreach events throughout the year.
In celebration of WMGSO’s five-year anniversary in 2018, the ensemble recorded its first professional album. WMGSO: The Album includes 12 tracks performed by the full orchestra and/or choir. Thanks to meeting crowdfunding stretch goals, an additional eight tracks of chamber music was released shortly thereafter as a download-only album, WMGSO: The Album DLC. Both albums are available for purchase online.
In the summer of 2012, several alumni of the Gamer Symphony Orchestra at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), the world's first permanent collegiate orchestra devoted exclusively to performing video game music, decided to continue their mission outside of the university setting. After more than a year of preparation, the board collected a repertoire and brought aboard Nigel Horne as the music director and conductor.
The group's first rehearsal in August 2013 consisted of approximately 15 instrumentalists and singers. Living Faith Lutheran Church, which graciously hosted WMGSO's first year of rehearsals, also hosted the orchestra’s first public performance in April 2014. Shortly after the second concert in June 2014, the IRS accepted WMGSO’s application to become a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
(above) WMGSO members pose for a group photo taken in December 2013 at Living Faith Lutheran Church, where the group rehearsed.
In 2015, WMGSO performed at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in front of a capacity crowd and at the first-ever Super Smash Con. Three years later, WMGSO performed on the mainstage at MAGFest in front of 2,000 attendees. In 2019, WMGSO collaborated with composer Tony Manfredonia on the North America debut of music from Kharon’s Crypt. WMGSO's home stage for the past few years is the Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center.
(above) In January 2018, WMGSO performed at MAGFest in front of an audience of 2,000.
WMGSO has received grants from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Maryland State Arts Council. This support has helped WMGSO afford rehearsal and performance space to bring video game music to larger audiences at an affordable price.