Summer String Institutes



High School String Institute, August 1-5, 2016

Piotr Gajewski, Conductor

Middle School String Institute, August 8-12, 2016

Victoria Gau, Conductor

National Philharmonic created the Summer String Institutes in 1998 to nurture the skills and talents of young musicians and encourage their participation in classical music now and throughout their lives. This summer, join National Philharmonic principal players and other distinguished faculty for a challenging and exciting week of chamber and orchestral music. The Senior Institute Orchestra, led by National Philharmonic Maestro Piotr Gajewski, has been cited by the Washington Post as a “precise and elegant ensemble.” The Middle School Institute Orchestra, led by National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, provides the same intense and high quality experience for younger students. While Summer String Institute students work on ambitious repertoire to develop true professionalism, they also enjoy camaraderie and the adventure of creating great music.

In a day-camp arrangement, each National Philharmonic Summer String Institute is an intensive week of orchestra rehearsals, chamber music rehearsals and coachings, private lessons, and movement classes, culminating with performances by the orchestra and chamber ensembles.


This year’s Institutes are at Trinity Lutheran Church, 11200 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852 (just north of Tuckerman Lane)



9:00 Sectional Rehearsal
10:35 Coached Chamber Music
11:40 Private Lesson
12:45 Lunch
1:25 Movement Class
2:30 Chamber Music Practice Time
3:35 Orchestra Rehearsal
5:00 Dismissal


The Institutes’ schedules are filled with instruction and rehearsals and do not allow for much practice time. Therefore, it is imperative that students prepare assigned music ahead of time

Students are required to participate in all Institute activities, including the following concerts:
High School Institute – Friday August 5
1:30 p.m. – Informal Chamber Music Concert
7:30 p.m. – Evening Orchestra Concert

Middle School Institute – Friday August 12
1:30 p.m. – Informal Chamber Music Concert
7:30 p.m. – Evening Orchestra Concert

Piotr Gajewski, conductor. Music Director & Conductor of the National Philharmonic, Gajewski guest conducts in the USA, Canada, England, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Awarded a Leonard Bernstein Conducting Fellowship at Tanglewood, Gajewski’s teachers have included Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Andre Previn, Gunther Schuller, Gustav Meier, and Maurice Abravanel.

Victoria Gau, conductor and Institutes Director. Associate Conductor and Director of Education for the National Philharmonic, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Capital City Symphony, Artistic Director of the Takoma Ensemble. Youth orchestra conducting positions have included the Akron (OH) Youth Symphony and Young Virtuosi of the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Gau holds degrees in Viola Performance and Conducting from the Oberlin Conservatory. She is a frequent conductor of youth orchestra regional festivals.
Isiah Johnson, music movement class. On the dance staff at the University of Maryland, Johnson is an active performer, composer, arranger, and piano teacher.

Lori Barnet, cello.   Principal cellist and coordinator of chamber music for the National Philharmonic, Barnet also plays with the Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra, the Contemporary Music Forum, and teaches at George Washington University.

Katherine Budner, violin. Member of the National Philharmonic for over 15 years, Budner is a former concertmaster of the US Air Force Symphony Orchestra and has soloed with that group. She is a free-lance musician in the DC area and teaches privately.

Douglas Dubé, violin. Concertmaster of Baltimore Opera Orchestra and Washington Concert Opera, Dubé also plays with the Washington Opera Orchestra, National Gallery Orchestra, and Wolf Trap Orchestra.

Jeffery Koczela, bass. Principal bassist with the Washington Bach Consort and Alexandria Symphony. Koczela teaches at Howard University and performs with the Washington Opera, the Wolf Trap Orchestra, the National Symphony, and other ensembles in the DC area.

Mark Pfannschmidt, viola/violin. Violist with the National Philharmonic and other area ensembles, Pfannschmidt is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory and Catholic University. He is a former member of the US Marine Chamber Orchestra.

Judy Silverman, viola/violin. Associate Principal violist of the National Philharmonic, Silverman has received the American String Teachers’ Association’s Teacher of the Year award and the MCYO’s Service to Students award.

Kerry Van Laanen, cello. Cellist with the Washington Opera, Baltimore Opera, Wolf Trap Opera Orchestra, and the National Philharmonic, Van Laanen also teaches privately in the area.

Julius Wirth, viola/violin. Principal Viola with the National Philharmonic, Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Wirth is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the Peabody Conservatory.



Mozart, Divertimento in Bb Major, K. 137

Telemann, Concerto for Viola in G Major

Elgar, Serenade for Strings

Foote, Suite in E Major


Handel, Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 1

Grainger, Molly on the Shore

Penderecki, Three Pieces in the Olden Style

McLean, Fandango


Click on 2016 SSI Application Packet in left sidebar to download and send to:

National Philharmonic
Attn: Victoria Gau, Associate Conductor
The Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane
North Bethesda, MD 20852-3385