Richard Scerbo

Co-Director, Artistic Programming & Director, National Orchestral Institute + Festival
Richard Scerbo
Photo by Michael Abramyan

Richard Scerbo is the Co-Director of Artistic Programming & Director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival (NOI+F). In these dual roles and as part of a nationally unique multi-curatorial programming team at The Clarice, he works to cultivate artistic experiences in the areas of jazz, classical, contemporary and emergent areas of music performance for the University of Maryland campus and surrounding community.    

With the NOI+F, he leads one of the nation’s most prestigious training programs for young orchestral musicians. For over ten years, Scerbo has worked in various capacities to oversee the artistic growth of the institute and its innovative training curriculum in orchestral performance, conductorless chamber orchestras, professional development and community engagement. For his work with NOI+F, he was selected as an Innovator by Musical America and is profiled in Musical America’s Innovators: 30 Professionals of the Year. Selected from hundreds of performing arts professionals, Musical America Professionals of the Year are innovative, creative and forward-thinking arts leaders. Under his leadership, NOI+F has created vital partnerships with organizations such as Naxos Records, Wolf Trap Opera, the Sphinx Organization and many others. Their ongoing effort to record works by American composers in partnership with Naxos Records was recognized by a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Orchestral Performance” for works by Steven Stucky, John Harbison and Carl Ruggles. Most recently, Scerbo led the festival in its appointment of Marin Alsop as its first Music Director. This coincides with the founding of Conducting and Composer academies that expand the program’s offerings to new areas of teaching and mentorship.  

Prior to coming to The Clarice, Scerbo worked for the UMD School of Music where, in addition to his responsibilities with the National Orchestral Institute + Festival, he served as Assistant Director for Artistic Planning and Operations. During his time there he administered a wide array of creative projects including the Robert Schumann Bicentennial Festival-Conference, a three-year residency with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Art of Argento Festival and a remounting of Morton Subotnick’s legendary album, Silver Apples of the Moon, among others.

An active member of the arts community, Scerbo has served on panels with the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, adjudicated chamber music competitions for the Montpelier Arts Center and judged orchestra competitions for the Howard County Public Schools. He is currently on the boards of the American Composers Alliance and Bowdoin International Music Festival, and a Co-Artistic Director of Jackson Hole Chamber Music. As an educator of all ages, he is the Principal Conductor of the DC Youth Orchestra and former Music Director of the NIH Community Orchestra, a 70-member volunteer orchestra drawn from the health, science and research professionals across the region.

Trained as a conductor and bassoonist, Scerbo maintains an active connection to the performance world. He is the founding Artistic Director of Inscape Chamber Orchestra where he has recorded numerous albums of American music, including the GRAMMY-nominated album Sprung Rhythm. A passionate advocate for new music, he has commissioned over forty works from emerging American composers. In recent seasons, he has led a North American premiere by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; conducted chamber operas ranging from Bernstein to Stravinsky and a pantomime by Manuel de Falla; and worked with Mason Bates’s Jukebox series at the Kennedy Center where he conducted shows with German IDM duo Mouse on Mars, techno legend Juan Atkins and electronica artists from Thievery Corporation.  

Richard Scerbo is a proud alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Music where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music and a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting.