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Avanti Orchestra

The Orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club

Pablo Saelzer, Conductor and Music Director


2016–2017 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.

  • Friday, September 30, 2016, 8:00-9:30 pm, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Guest Soloist: Lara Boschkor, violin, Johansen International Competition winner. Program: Tchaikovsky Alla tedesca from Symphony No. 3; Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto; Dvorak Symphony No. 9.
  • Friday, November 18, 2016, 8:00-9:45 pm, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Guest Soloist: Maggie Finnegan, soprano, Washington International Competition winner. Program: Faure Prélude and Sicilienne from Pelléas et Mélisande; Andrew Hsu Teasdale Songs; Bernstein Glitter and Be Gay from Candide; Falla El sombrero de tres picos.
  • Friday, March 24, 2017, 8:00-9:30 pm, Church of the Epiphany, Washington, DC. Guest Soloist: Javier Arrey, baritone, Metropolitan Opera. Program: Dvorak Serenade for Winds, op. 44; Dvorak Biblical Songs; and Mozart Symphony No. 38, “Prague.”
  • Saturday, June 24, 2017, 7:30-9:15 pm, Masterwork Festival, Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD. Guest Soloist: Yi-Yang Chen, piano, first-prize winner of the 2017 Washington International Competition. Program: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58; and Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.
2016–2017 Rehearsal Schedule (subject to change)
  • Click here for the 2016-2017 Rehearsal Schedule (as of September 8, 2016).
2016–2017 Auditions

CONTACT: Nan Cooper at orchestra@fmmc.org or avantiorchestra@gmail.com 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.

For more information, contact Orchestra Manager Nan Cooper at avantiorchestra@gmail.com.

Requirements for Orchestra Performance

String players interested in becoming Orchestra Performing members of the Club should e-mail the Orchestra Manager at orchestra@fmmc.org or 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-member orchestra audition committee. All other instrumentalists should schedule auditions through the FMMC Auditions Chair, auditions@fmmc.org. For more information, see our Auditions page. Generally, principal wind players are expected to perform at the skill level appropriate for a chamber or solo performer on their instrument. 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.