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Avanti Orchestra

The Orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club

Pablo Saelzer, Conductor and Music Director

orchestra@fmmc.org and avantiorchestra@gmail.com

2017–2018 Concerts

All concerts are free and open to the public. Also see our Calendar of Events for more details on these and other FMMC concerts.

  • Saturday, September 16, 2017, 7:30 pm, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Soloists: Tony Rymer, cello; Maggie Finnegan, soprano. Program: Dvořák Slavonic Dances; Villa-Lobos Bachiana Brasileira #5; and Dvořák Cello Concerto.
  • Sunday, November 19, 2017, 4:00 pm, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Soloist: Yi-Yang Chen, piano, 2017 Washington International Competition winner. Program: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto; and Dvořák Symphony No. 6.
  • Friday, March 9, 2018, 8:00 pm, Schlesinger Concert Hall, Alexandria, VA. Avanti’s 75th Anniversary Concert. Soloist: Javier Arrey, baritone, Metropolitan Opera. Program: Schubert Unfinished Symphony; Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen; and Strauss Aus Italien Op. 16, movements 1 & 2.
  • Saturday, June 2, 2018, 7:30-9:15 pm, Masterwork Festival, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Program: Mahler Symphony No. 5.
2017–2018 Rehearsal Schedule (subject to change)
  • Click here for the 2017-2018 Rehearsal Schedule (as of August 12, 2017).
2017–2018 Auditions
  • Date & Time: Thursday, January 25, 2018, beginning at 7:30 pm
  • Location: Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G Street NW, Washington, DC
  • Contact: Nan Cooper at orchestra@fmmc.org and avantiorchestra@gmail.com for instructions and to schedule an audition. Please include a brief bio of music experience.
About the Orchestra

Founded in 1943 as a string ensemble, the orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club grew to a full symphonic ensemble in the 1970’s under the direction of Robert Gerle. Sylvia Alimena led the orchestra from the mid-nineties to 2004. Pablo Saelzer became Conductor and Music Director in 2005.

The orchestra is made up of approximately 70 qualified players all of whom volunteer their services. Most are FMMC Performing Members; however, guests are welcome. The orchestra presents five concerts annually, including the Masterwork Festival and an annual concert held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featuring as soloist a winner of the Washington International Competition. Avanti also presents the winners of the Johansen International Competition. All orchestra concerts are open to the public free of charge. Except for the Masterwork Festival, Avanti rehearses at Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G Street NW, Washington, DC.

During the last decade the orchestra has gone through a revitalization process symbolized in the group’s adoption of the name Avanti in 2009. This process has been characterized by the development of an ensemble-culture that insists on quality at every step of the way. Saelzer believes that good performances are expressive performances, and that these are only possible when personal preparation and group collaboration align in the pursuit of unity. This strategy has been successful in attracting highly qualified instrumentalists who identify with this way of music-making.

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Requirements for Orchestra Performance

Instrumentalists interested in becoming Orchestra Performing members of the Club should e-mail the Orchestra Manager at orchestra@fmmc.org and avantiorchestra@gmail.com to arrange an audition, which generally requires the candidate to prepare a selection of his or her choice and two orchestral excerpts (sent in advance) and play them before a three or more member orchestra audition committee. For more information, see our Auditions page. Performers who have achieved FMMC Solo or Chamber Performance membership through audition may play in the orchestra at the invitation of the orchestra committee.

Orchestra Fund

In addition to the support it receives from the Club’s General Fund, the orchestra draws from a fund dedicated to its use. For information on contributing to the Orchestra Fund, please go to our Donations page.