NIH Community Orchestra
Richard Scerbo maintains an active schedule as a conductor, performer, teacher, and arts administrator. He studied bassoon with Daniel Matsukawa, Linda Harwell, and Sue Heineman (B.A., University of Maryland) before pursing conducting studies with James Ross (M.M., University of Maryland). His primary work as an arts administrator has been with the National Orchestral Institute
where he has worked in various roles since 2002. In 2006 he was appointed Managing Director of the program, and in 2012 he was appointed Associate Artistic Director and General Manger. In this capacity, he is honored to work annually with internationally renowned conductors and orchestral musicians, as well as some of the most talented music students in the nation. He serves concurrently as the Assistant Director for Artistic Planning and Operations for the University of Maryland School of Music
As a conductor, he co-founded the Philharmonia Ensemble with violinist Dale Barltrop, and in 2004 founded the Inscape Chamber Orchestra
, which The Washington Post
has praised for its "guts and musical sensitivity." Inscape's dedication to performing new works has led to numerous commissions from emerging American composers. Many of these works, conducted by Mr. Scerbo, were released on his GRAMMY nominated debut album, Sprung Rhythm
on the Sono Luminus label. His follow up album, American Aggregate
, was released in August 2014. In 2003, he made his operatic debut conducting Dominick Argento's A Water Bird Talk
with the Philharmonia Ensemble and Handel's Xerxes
with the Maryland Opera Studio. That same year, Mr. Scerbo helped launch the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra (Maryland) when he was invited to conduct their inaugural concert, and returned the following year to conduct their season opening concert. He has been guided in his studies by Leonard Slatkin, Heinz Fricke, Gustav Meier, and Johannes Schlaefli at the Musikhochschule Zurich.
Mr. Scerbo teaches bassoon privately, as well as serving on faculty of the DC Youth Orchestra.
NIH Community Chorus and The East Avenue Ensemble
W. Robert (Bob) Johnson, Music Director of the NIHCO Community Chorus and The East Avenue Ensemble, has had a long and varied association with choral music. Beginning in Kansas, he sang in choirs and choruses for more than 60 years. Although he chose a career in the military and government service, he conducted choirs and choruses wherever his assignments took him. In Guam, he conducted the choir of Headquarters Chapel, Marianas Islands. Aboard USS NORTHAMPTON, he organized a ship’s choir which sang for church services at sea and at television stations, both in the U.S. and abroad, as the ship made port calls. Assigned to duty on Okinawa, he served for 16 months as Music Director at Sukiran Post Chapel, where the 70-voice chancel choir presented 14 major concerts to both Ryukyuan and American audiences as well as singing two Sunday morning services every week.
In 1971, he organized the Parkway Chorale as a noontime activity at the National Security Agency where he was employed. He retired from Federal service in May 1998 and relinquished the Music Directorship of the Chorale after 25 years on the podium of that chorus. In 1975, he founded The New Century Singers to provide volunteer singers an opportunity to participate in the Bicentennial by performing the music of American composers and arrangers. He retired that chorus in 2006 after 31 years of performing music by Americans. He sang in the Washington Cathedral Choral Society for 28 years and served on the Society’s Board of Trustees for 16+ years including a two-year term as President of the Board. The Society honored him with the award of its Medal of Merit.
As a member of the American Choral Directors Association, he served two terms as the President of the District of Columbia Chapter leading to that chapter’s merger with the Maryland Chapter. He served as the ACDA Eastern Division Conference Registrar for five consecutive biennial conferences beginning in 1994. Following four years as the Community Choir Chair for the Maryland/DC Chapter and one year as the Eastern Division Community Choir Chair, he was appointed as the ACDA National Chair for Community Choirs. He served in that office for the maximum six-year term, retiring in June 2009.
In September 2009, he was appointed as Chorus Master of the NIHCO Community Chorus, a position he currently fills in addition to serving as the Music Director of The East Avenue Ensemble. In September 2012, he was appointed as the director of the Asbury Village Encore Chorale, one of the 13 D.C.-area choruses in the Encore Creativity organization.