The Clarice Welcomes Richard Scerbo as Director of the National Orchestral Institute and Festival

Richard Scerbo photo by David Ashman

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Scerbo as the new Director of the National Orchestral Institute and Festival (NOI+F). The institute is a four-week program of intensive study for orchestral musicians on the thresholds of their professional careers. NOI+F offers its participants important tools for professional success and musical fulfillment, as well as preparation for the vital challenges facing twenty-first century musicians. Festival events open new avenues for community engagement and participation in the discovery and appreciation of orchestral performance. Enlivened audiences follow the trajectory of these talented students and their teachers as they form this critically acclaimed orchestra each summer.

In his role as Director, Mr. Scerbo is responsible for the executive and artistic leadership of all aspects of the curricular, educational and performance elements of an orchestral institute that has gained a national reputation for excellence and innovation in a rapidly changing field. He will also provide artistic leadership and strategic guidance for developing a robust community-driven festival that seeks to re-imagine the orchestral experience for both artists and audience, thereby providing a national model for the presentation and execution of the orchestra of the future.

Martin Wollesen, Executive Director of The Clarice, says, “The National Orchestral Institute and Festival is on the forefront of preparing young orchestral musicians for their professional careers. Through work with world-renowned conductors, community outreach programs, dynamic music-making and adventuresome programming, NOI+F is training, educating and mentoring the next generation of artists and creative innovators to redefine the orchestral experience. We are excited to work with Richard as we build the future of the arts now.”

Leonard Slatkin and National Festival Orchestra photo by Geoff Sheil

Founded in 1988 at the University of Maryland, NOI+F has become a staple of the local arts community and a leading force in the development of future orchestral musicians. Its alumni now occupy positions in virtually every major orchestra in the United States, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony and Boston Symphony, to name a few. It recently began a multi-year partnership with recording giant, NAXOS, whereby one album will be released each summer featuring American music performed by the NOI+F orchestra.

Scerbo says, “Our work at NOI+F is to not only be responsive to the changing demands being placed on orchestral musicians today, but to empower our participants to be leaders and change-makers in this important conversation going forward."

Mr. Scerbo follows James Undercofler, who oversaw the Institute and Festival for three years as its Artistic Director, and one year as Guest Artistic Curator. Undercofler stepped down to become Interim Director of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College (NY). He will remain engaged with NOI as Artistic Collaborator and continue to lead his popular seminars on entrepreneurship and professional development for orchestral musicians each summer. 


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory shared by the Artist Partner Program (APP), the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS), Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library (MSPAL) and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The Clarice made its debut in 2001 and has grown into a national model for campus performing arts centers, presenting performances and programs by artist partners as well as by students, faculty and alumni of SOM and TDPS. The Clarice is building the future of the arts now.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.