Pablo Saelzer, Conductor and Music DirectorMeet the Conductor
Founded in 1943 as a string ensemble, the orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club (FMMC) grew to a full symphonic ensemble in the 1970s 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.
This community orchestra is made up of approximately 60 musicians, all of whom volunteer their services. Most are auditioned members of FMMC; however, guests are welcome. The orchestra presents four concerts annually including the Masterwork Festival and features winners of the Washington International Competition (WIC) and Johansen International Competition for Young String Players (JIC).
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 is characterized by an ensemble culture that insists on quality every step of the way. Saelzer believes 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.
All concerts are free and open to the public.Past Concerts
For detailed audition requirements, visit our auditions page.
Except for the June Masterwork Festival, rehearsals are generally Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Church of the Epiphany. String players have six rehearsals for each concert, woodwinds and horns have four, and brass, percussion, etc., have three.
June Masterwork Festival rehearsals are held over two weeks at Montgomery College/Rockville. The first week is for string players only on Tuesday and Thursday; the second week is four to five consecutive rehearsals. The last three or four rehearsals are full orchestra rehearsals, depending on the work, .Rehearsal Details
In addition to the support it receives from the Club’s General Fund, Avanti draws from a special fund dedicated to its use. For information on contributing to the Orchestra Fund, please visit our donations page.
Photo: Rin-rin Yu