National Orchestral Institute Festival Trains Next Generation of Orchestral Musicians Through Work With World-Renowned Conductors, Community Outreach Program and Naxos Partnership, May 28 – June 27

Monday, May 4, 2015

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

May 4, 2015 – College Park, MD - The UMD School of Music’s National Orchestral Institute Festival (NOI) welcomes nearly 100 talented orchestral musicians for four-weeks of dynamic music-making, May 28-June 27, at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Now in its 28th year, NOI features outstanding young musicians and world-renowned conductors in chamber and orchestral concerts that celebrate musical traditions while also exploring new ways of engaging audiences.  Selected by a rigorous, cross-country audition process, NOI participants quickly coalesce into energetic ensembles that perform adventuresome repertoire at The Clarice and in the community. Performances take place every Saturday night between May 30 and June 27, 2015; additional free events are also open to the public.

A laboratory for shaping the future of orchestral and chamber music performance, NOI prepares its participants for the professional world through performance opportunities for diverse audiences; alumni of NOI have gone on to win positions with virtually every major U.S. symphony orchestra including the Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, National, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle Symphony Orchestras; the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics; and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. In NOI's Chamber Music Outreach Program, the NOI participants develop interactive concert programs for audiences of all ages as well as perform at over twenty local schools and retirement homes. 

Beginning this summer, NOI is partnering with the internationally renowned classical music label Naxos to record one concert of all-American music per year. This relationship with the label elevates NOI to the international stage through the recording’s distribution and advances NOI’s commitment to providing professional development opportunities for its participants. This partnership marks Naxos’ first with a student-based summer music festival.

About the NOI/Naxos Partnership

“We at the National Orchestral Institute Festival are delighted to forge this partnership with Naxos, one of the leading classical labels in the world. By their actions, Naxos not only demonstrates its commitment to American composers, but to the education of our next generation of orchestral performers,” says James Undercofler, NOI’s artistic director.

School of Music Director Robert Gibson states that the Naxos/NOI partnership "is wondefully consistent with the School's mission to serve as an advocate for American music through commissioning, performing and recording new works from promising younger composers and the work of American masters."

The first performance of the inaugural recording will be on June 13, 2015 and will feature Albany Symphony Music Director David Alan Miller conducting Michael Torke’s Bright Blue Music; Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring; and John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1. The partnership will continue with UMD’s Director of Orchestral Studies James Ross leading the next NOI recording in the future.

NOI Programs

The 2015 National Orchestral Institute Festival features a full schedule of concerts, showcases, open rehearsals and other events – free and ticketed – beginning on Saturday, May 30 at 8pm with the National Festival Orchestra Your Classical Favorites Concert, including Saint-Saens’s Introduction & Rondo capriccioso featuring UMD faculty artist James Stern on violin and conducted by John Morris Russell, famed conductor of the famed Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. NOI will culminate on Saturday, June 27 at 8pm with Israeli conductor Asher Fisch, well-known for his work in opera houses and concert stages around the world, leading the National Festival Orchestra in a program that includes Bartók’s dazzling Concerto for Orchestra.

New Concert Experience

For the June 6 unconducted chamber orchestra performance, guests may purchase a ticket to sit in the device-friendly balcony of the Dekelboum Concert Hall, where they are invited to take photographs (without flash) and share their concert experience through social media. (For a traditional concert experience, tickets for the orchestra section are available.) Before this program, there will be a pre-concert discussion at 7pm that focuses on the unique qualities of playing orchestra repertoire without a conductor. This backstage discussion is open to the public.

A Gathering of Young Virtuosos

Each year, NOI conducts a rigorous audition process at 18 sites around the country to select nearly 100 orchestral virtuosos who plan orchestral careers. They participate in a four-week intensive program to hone their skills as musicians in chamber music, unconducted chamber orchestra, orchestral performance and career management, studying under the tutelage of distinguished musicians who help them polish their ensemble skills.  Each week culminates with a public performance in The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Guest Conductors

David Alan Miller

Grammy Award-winning conductor David Alan Miller has established a reputation as one of the leading American conductors of his generation. Music Director of the Albany Symphony since 1992, Mr. Miller has proven himself a creative and compelling orchestra builder. Through exploration of unusual repertoire, educational programming, community outreach and recording initiatives, he has reaffirmed the Albany Symphony’s reputation as the nation’s leading champion of American symphonic music and one of its most innovative orchestras. He and the orchestra have twice appeared at "Spring For Music," an annual festival of America's most creative orchestras at New York City's Carnegie Hall.  Other accolades include Columbia University’s 2003 Ditson Conductor’s Award, the oldest award honoring conductors for their commitment to American music, the 2001 ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming and, in 1999, ASCAP’s first-ever Leonard Bernstein Award for Outstanding Educational Programming.

Frequently in demand as a guest conductor, Mr. Miller has worked with most of America’s major orchestras, including the orchestras of Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, as well as the New World Symphony, the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet. In addition, he has appeared frequently throughout Europe, Australia and the Far East as guest conductor. Mr. Miller received a Grammy Award in January, 2014 for his Naxos recording of John Corigliano's "Conjurer," with the Albany Symphony and Dame Evelyn Glennie.

John Morris Russell

John Morris Russell, Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, “has shown a new generation, the strength and versatility of symphonic pops,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Maestro Russell has worked with many of North America’s most preeminent ensembles, including the orchestras of Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Toronto, Vancouver as well as Miami’s New World Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.  A leader in orchestral educational programming, Maestro Russell conducted “LinkUP!” concerts at Carnegie Hall, which provide elementary school students the opportunity to learn and perform music, for 12 years. As Associate Conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras (1995-2006), he created the “Classical Roots” series, which celebrates the music of African-American composers, as well as the “Sound Discoveries” educational concert series. Maestro Russell also serves as Music Director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and is Conductor Laureate of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he was Music Director between 2001 and 2012.

Rossen Milanov

Respected and admired by audiences and musicians alike, Rossen Milanov is the Music Director Designate of Columbus Symphony Orchestra. He is also the Music Director of the Princeton Symphony, Principal Conductor of Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias (OSPA) in Spain as well as the Music Director of the nationally recognized training orchestra Symphony in C in New Jersey. Most recently, he was appointed Music Director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Milanov has established himself as a conductor with a considerable national and international presence. His recent conducting highlights include debuts at the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony and Tokyo City Philharmonic and returns to the Milwaukee ,Vancouver, Fort Worth, Aalborg and Latvian National Symphony Orchestras; National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Zurich Opera, Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra and his Link Up education projects with Carnegie Hall and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Asher Fisch

A seasoned conductor in both the operatic and symphonic worlds, Asher Fisch is especially celebrated for his interpretative command of core German and Italian repertoire of the Romantic and post-Romantic era, in particular Wagner, Brahms, Strauss and Verdi. Mr. Fisch also conducts a wide variety of other repertoire from Gluck to contemporary works, and serves as an advocate of living composers such as Avner Dorman and others. In 2014, Mr. Fisch became the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). His former posts include Principal Guest Conductor of the Seattle Opera (2007-2013), where he concluded his tenure conducting the Opera's quadrennial Wagner Ring Cycle in summer 2013, Music Director of the New Israeli Opera (1998-2008) and the Wiener Volksoper (1995-2000). 

Born in Israel, Mr. Fisch began his conducting career as Daniel Barenboim’s assistant and kappellmeister at the Berlin Staatsoper. He made his United States debut at the Los Angeles Opera in 1995, and has since conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. A regular guest at leading European opera houses, Mr. Fisch has conducted all the major German and Austrian opera houses including Berlin, Munich, Dresden, Leipzig, Vienna, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden.

A full list of 2015 National Orchestra Institute Festival Events, including ticket information, can be found here.


Located on the University of Maryland campus and a part of the College of Arts and Humanities, the School of Music is a dynamic arts community committed to cultivating and transforming musical traditions and preparing students for meaningful engagement with their art, their culture and the world community. The School of Music, The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library share a space within The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a premier presenting arts venue and collaborative laboratory for professional artists, teachers and students, serving the university and community.

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.