For the last five summers the University of Maryland at College Park has sponsored the National Orchestral Institute. From 770 applicants nationwide, a little less than 100 of the best young orchestral musicians in the country (ranging in age from 18 to 31) are selected from outstanding conservatories and from orchestras not large enough to have summer seasons.
These musicians, on the threshold of professional careers, then spend three weeks studying orchestral playing under several outstanding conductors and well-known orchestral musicians. Just how well the most recent institute has done its work during the last three weeks could be gauged Saturday night at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall by the fine concert the institute's orchestra gave under Joseph Silverstein, the third and final conductor the young players have studied with.
The program was perfect for proficient young players -- Verdi's overture to "The Sicilian Vespers," Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 and Elgar's "Enigma Variations." The program was difficult enough to be challenging but did not make the sort of demands that usually only considerable professional experience can answer.