Report from the World Amateur Orchestra Festival

At the 2013 WFAO General Assembly in Shizuoka, Tommaso Napoli of AIMA and ContrArco in Italy, accepted to organize – for the first time in Europe – a WFAO Amateur Orchestra Festival, to be held in Milan at the occasion of the 2015 World Expo. WFAO and AIMA found willing partners in the prestigious MiTo Settembre Musica Festival and the Conservatorio di Musica “G. Verdi,” who offered their full support to promote WFAO’s festival.

More than 90 amateur musicians from 17 different nationalities and 5 continents assembled in Milan to perform under the baton of conductors Joe Yamaji from Japan and Mario Gioventù from Italy, with Elena Ponzoni as concertmaster. During 4 days of rehearsals and social gatherings all participants became acquainted with each other and new international friendships were born. Playing the final concert at the legendary Conservatorio di Musica “G. Verdi” proved to be the perfect conclusion to a rewarding week. Italian soprano Federica Vitali opened the concert with arias by Puccini, followed by Sibelius’ Symphony No 2. The applause at the end of the concert showed how much the audience appreciated the hard work and artistry put forth by everyone on stage.

Furthermore, the World Amateur Orchestra Festival became the launching platform for a new Italian amateur orchestras association, called FedIOrAm – Italian Federation of Amateur Orchestras. As of 2016 FedIOrAm will replace AIMA as the official representative for amateur musical activities in Italy. This new association starts with four orchestras as founding members, all of whom participated in the WFAO festival: OSAI (Orchestra Sinfonica Amatoriale Italiana, from Cuneo), Terrazzo Musicale (from Brescia), Cremaggiore (from Cremona), and ContrArco (from Milano).
FedIOrAm already has established contacts with other amateur orchestra associations in Italy. Soon they will increase their recruitment efforts in order to support – once a year and in partnership with EoFed (European Federation of Amateur Orchestras) – an Italian amateur orchestra festival, to be held yearly in a different city.

Fun Facts

90 participants from 17 different nationalities, 5 continents, age between 6 and 75

Conductors: Joe Yamaji (Japan), Mario Gioventù (Italy)
Concertmaster: Elena Ponzoni (Italy)
Soloist: Federica Vitali, soprano (Italy)

Giacomo PUCCINI, Mi chiamano Mimi from ‘La Bohème’ (1896)
Giacomo PUCCINI, Vissi d’Arte from ‘Tosca’ (1900)
(as encore):
Giacomo PUCCINI, Un bel di vedremo from ‘Mme Butterfly‘ (1904)
Jean SIBELIUS, Symphony no 2, in D, op 43 (1901-02)

Conservatorio di Musica “G. Verdi” di Milano, Via Conservatorio 12, Milano

Rehearsal venues:
Teatro Sala Fontana, Via Boltraffio 21, Milano
Conservatorio di Musica “G. Verdi” di Milano, Via Conservatorio 12, Milano

Collaboration between:
World Federation Amateur Orchestras (WFAO),
Associazione Italiana Musicisti Amatori (AIMA),
MiToSettembre Musica,
Conservatorio di Musica “G. Verdi” di Milano,

With support of :
Teatro sala Fontana,
Fondazioni Cariplo,

Director of the festival: Tommaso Napoli (AIMA, ContrArco, WFAO)
With support of: Alex Van Beveren (WFAO)
Technical staff: members of orchestra ContrArco (

2 Replies to “Report from the World Amateur Orchestra Festival”

  1. Sincerely.

    My name is Davor Loncar.
    I am from Croatia, now student on master of percussion at the Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria.
    I would like to apply for percussion player and timpanist for next project with your or some orchestra.
    Could you send me more information?
    I kindly ask you for a quick response.

    Best regards.
    Davor Loncar

    1. Hi Davor,

      World Federation of Amateur Orchestras have no coming projects in the immediate future. But our member organizations have many projects, especially in the summer.

      All the best,
      Carl Ninian Wika
      Board member, WFAO

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