Our 2022-23 Season is underway! Check out the events calendar here.

Avanti Orchestra

Orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club

Pablo Saelzer, Conductor and Music Director

Meet 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.

2022-23 Season

Please note: all concerts are subject to change due to the nature or the coronavirus pandemic. Please check the calendar to confirm details.

All concerts are free and open to the public.

Past Concerts


Rolling Auditions for String Musicians
Schedule with Orchestra Manager and include a brief bio of music experience. Until further notice, all auditions will be by virtual submission. Instructions will be emailed upon request.

For detailed audition requirements, visit our auditions page.


Except for the 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.

Masterwork Festival rehearsals are held at Montgomery College/Rockville.

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.


Orchestra Manager

Photo: Rin-rin Yu