Summer String Institutes

Applications for 2018 are now closed. Please check back in January for 2019 information

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Senior Institute WEEK 1 , July 30 – August 3, 2018

Senior Institute WEEK 2, August 6 – 10, 2018

Piotr Gajewski, Conductor

Apply for one or both weeks!

For rising 9th graders through rising college freshmen

Junior Institute , August 13 – 17, 2018

Victoria Gau, Conductor

For rising 6th – 10th graders

Prep Institute, August 20 – 24, 2018

Jennifer van Petten, Conductor

for rising 4th – 6th graders

For more information on NP’s Summer String Institutes, please contact Victoria Gau at


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)

SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE – Junior and Senior Institutes

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.

Prep Institute

We are excited to add a new Institute opportunity for advanced younger students entering 4th-6th grade.

The institute will run 9-3:30 daily.


Students are required to participate in all Institute activities, including the following concerts for Junior and Senior Institutes:
Friday of each week:
1:30 p.m. – Informal Chamber Music Concert
7:30 p.m. – Evening Orchestra Concert

Prep Institute will culminate in an informal afternoon performance for families.

Principal Faculty ( subject to change)

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.

Jennifer Van Petten, Conductor and Prep Institute Director. Currently conductor of the PVYO Sinfonia, Mrs. Van Petten is the former conductor of Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra’s Chamber Strings and Young Artists Orchestra. She was a finalist in the 2010-2011 Gazette’s “My Favorite Teacher” award. In 2005, Mrs. Van Petten was the recipient of the Nancy Dworkin Award for “Outstanding Service to Youth” as well as a finalist for the “Agnes Meyer Teaching Award.”

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 D Major, K 136

Bac, Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings


Barber, Adagio for Strings

Mendelssohn, String Symphony No. 3 in E minor

Telemann, Concerto for two Violas in G Major

Bartok, Divertimento for Strings


Rutter, Suite for Strings

Holst, Brooke Green Suite

McLean, Tango and Serenata

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