Villa Musica Summer Orchestra


We are proud to collaborate with local violinist and conductor Aram Akhavan, and veteran band educator and bassoonist Bill Gilmer to offer a summer opportunity for advanced orchestral players in San Diego.


The Villa Musica Summer Orchestra was founded with the intent to give high caliber community musicians an opportunity to come together during the summer months and perform great works in the chamber and symphonic literature.  This ensemble unites musicians from a variety of community and semi-professional orchestras with the sole purpose of spreading the joy of music to others.  Membership is by audition only.

For inquiries, please contact Dan Weiss, VMSO Orchestra Manager at

To Register, please submit the form below


YouTube Channel


2017 Summer Season Information 

Auditions for new members:  

Saturday June 17th, 2:30-5:30pm – at Villa Musica




Session 1: 

Performance Saturday, July 29, 1:00pm  Neil Morgan Auditorium, Downtown Central Library 

Rehearsals:  MONDAYS, 7:00-9:30pm- June 26, July 5 (WED), 10, 17, 24.

Dress Rehearsal: TBA

Concert: July 29 1:00pm

Fee: $25 if paid by June 26 ($35 thereafter)

(Financial aid available upon request)


Program: Wind Ensemble

Holst -Suites in Eb and F

Dukas- The Fanfare to La Peri

Dvorak – Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 44


Session 2: Full Orchestra (and some)

Performance Saturday, September 16 7:30pm St. Paul’s Cathedral

Rehearsals:  TUESDAYS, 7:00pm-10:00pm: August 8, 15, 22, 29, Sept. 5, 12, 13

Dress Rehearsal: September 15 at St. Paul’s

Concert: September 16th, 7:30pm

Fee: $25 if paid by August 8 ($35 thereafter)

(Financial aid available upon request)


Program: Full Orchestra

Strauss – Einleitung, oder Sonnenaufgang from Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30

John Williams – Flying Theme from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Hans Zimmer – Suite from Interstellar

Holst – The Planets, Op. 32

Audition Requirements:

1. One minute of a solo from standard repertoire
2. One major scale, one minor scale (2 or 3 octaves)
3.  Selected orchestral excerpts – please contact our orchestra manager, Dan Weiss


* = required

First Name *

Last Name *

Phone Number

Email *

Instrument *

Which session(s) are you registering for? *

Are you a new or returning member? *
 New Returning

Aram Akhavan – Conductor

By day, Aram is a bright young engineer at Spreadtrum Communications, designing next generation mobile chips. By night, he follows his passion for music, playing the violin and piano, and writing arrangements. Aram’s involvement in music began at a young age with lessons in piano and violin. As a teenager, he joined the Phoenix Youth Symphony, touring in Eastern Europe, and later joined the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra.


After moving to San Diego to attend UCSD, Aram joined the La Jolla Symphony, which explores new music alongside standard classical works. He also participates in various Chamber Music events throughout San Diego. In 2013, he founded the La Jolla Summer Chamber Orchestra to provide musicians with a chance to augment their repertoire during a season which had lacked a regular community orchestra. He soon joined forces with Villa Musica, growing the ensemble into a full symphony to expand its reach to a greater number of musicians.


Aram graduated with his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from ASU in 2010 and his M.S. in Electrical engineering from UCSD in 2011, all while continuing his music education. He currently studies conducting with faculty from UCSD and Iowa State. His remaining time is spent enjoying outdoor San Diego, playing ultimate frisbee and rock climbing.


Bill Gilmer – Conductor

A music educator, bassoonist, and conductor, Bill Gilmer recently moved to San Diego. He retired in June 2014 from a career as a music educator in Illinois for 33 years, the last 28 spent as the Director of Bands at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, IL. The band program at Willowbrook was recognized as one of the outstanding programs in the state and was selected to perform at the conferences of the American School Band Directors Association, the National Band Association, the College Band Directors National Association as well as the Illinois Music Educators Association. The band also was invited to perform at the Bowling Green State University New Music Clinic, the Western Illinois University Band Showcase, and the University of Illinois Superstate Band Festival on numerous occasions. Further, the Wind Ensemble at Willowbrook was active in commissioning several works for band including music by Augusta Read Thomas, Jonathan Newman, William Himes, and Robert Bradshaw. However, beyond the recognitions and awards received, the development of an appreciation for good music and becoming a lifelong learner and supporter of good music was always the goal of the instructional process.


In January 2014, Bill was presented the Mary Hoffman Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Education by the ILMEA. Following retirement he served as an adjunct professor at Concordia University in River Forest, IL and as the music director for the Des Plaines Community Band, Des Plaines, IL. Further he served as the conductor of the UCSD Wind Ensemble for the 2015 – 16 season.


Bill holds both a Bachelor of Music Education degree and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tulsa where he was named the Presser Scholar in music education. He earned his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and has done post-graduate work at the University of Illinois, Vandercook College of Music, and Northwestern.

As a bassoonist, Bill currently plays with the North Coast Symphony Orchestra and the New City Sinfonia and as a freelance musician. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Villa Musica Community Music Center and for the North Coast Symphony Orchestra.


Dan Weiss – Orchestra Manager

This is Dan’s first year as Orchestra Manager for the Villa Musica Summer Orchestra, but he has been the groups co-principal bassoon since its inception four years ago. Dan has over 20 years of performance experience with chamber groups, symphonies, and pit orchestras in the Southern California region as well as music festivals worldwide, and has won awards at numerous competitions for both solo and ensemble work. He has performed professionally with the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra, the Music Academy of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, Festival Mozaic, Mainly Mozart, and San Diego City Ballet. As a contractor, Dan connects musicians, event coordinators, and venues. He has facilitated large and small ensembles for stage productions, private functions, and symphony concerts, and is a founding member of the Left Coast Qunitet, a versatile ensemble that plays locally for a variety of events. Outside of music, Dan works in Emergency Management and enjoys home improvement projects.