With a career that spans conducting, teaching, and arts leadership, Richard Scerbo has been a thought leader in the world of orchestras for nearly two decades. He is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Inscape Chamber Orchestra, Director of the National Orchestral Institute + Festival at the University of Maryland, Co-Artistic Director of Jackson Hole Chamber Music, and a Principal Conductor of the DC Youth Orchestra.
As Artistic Director and Conductor of Inscape Chamber Orchestra, he has recorded numerous albums of American music, including the GRAMMY-nominated album Sprung Rhythm. Their concerts and recordings have received rave reviews in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Gramophone Magazine, Archivmusic, and various audiophile blogs. In recent seasons, he has led the group in 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. A passionate advocate for new music, he has commissioned over fifty works from American composers ranging from Maryland composers Robert Gibson, Linda Dusman, and Alexandra Gardner, to works by Osvaldo Golijov, Allison Loggins-Hull, Brian Nabors, and Julia Adolphe, to name a few.
In leading the National Orchestral Institute + Festival, Scerbo has overseen a decade of transformational artistic growth including an innovative training curriculum in orchestral performance, self-led 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, Pacific Music Institute, Washington National Cathedral, and many others. Their ongoing effort to record works by American composers in partnership with Naxos Records was recognized by a GRAMMY nomination in the category of “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, and the subsequent creation of annual composer and conductor training academies.
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 assessments for the Howard County (MD) Public Schools. He is currently on the boards of directors for the American Composers Alliance and Bowdoin International Music Festival. In 2016, he helped found Jackson Hole Chamber Music and currently serves as the program’s Co-Artistic Director where he curates summer and winter chamber music festivals in the foothills of the Grand Teton mountain range. As an educator of all ages, he is a 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 Baltimore-Washington region.
Richard Scerbo grew up near Annapolis, Maryland and credits his amazing public school music teachers for his lifelong journey in music. He studied bassoon with Daniel Matsukawa, Linda Harwell, and Sue Henieman at the University of Maryland where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Orchestral Conducting with James Ross. Richard lives in Mount Rainier, Maryland with his partner Christopher Wilson where they look after a large and growing family of houseplants.
Photo credit: Michael Abramyan