CLASSICAL MUSIC

Two new orchestras give their first performances today: the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church and the National Women's Symphony at Gaston Hall. Other recent arrivals on the orchestral scene include the National Symphony Orchestra Summer Youth Ensemble, which will play Friday night at the Kennedy Center, and the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, which will play Saturday at the University of Maryland. Meanwhile, the National Symphony Orchestra will give a Gershwin concert with pianist Peter Nero Thursday night and classical concerts Friday and Saturday nights at Wolf Trap.

Also worth noting: Musikanten, today at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church; pianist Mia Chung, tonight at the National Gallery; the New World String Quartet, Tuesday night at the University of Maryland; American Chamber Players, Thursday night at the Corcoran Gallery; the Trompenberg Piano Quintet, Thursday night at the Netherlands Embassy; "The Great Gilbert and Sullivan Sing-Out," Saturday morning (!) at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theater, Rockville, and the traditional Gay Pride Concert, Saturday night at Lisner Auditorium. DANCE

The exciting annual festival Dance Africa DC concludes at Dance Place with free matinee performances today and a full concert tonight. Pandit Birju Maharaj & Dancers, together with guest artists from New Delhi, present a program of Kathak dance at Arlington's Thomas Jefferson Community Theater this afternoon. The historic and illustrious Royal Danish Ballet returns to the Kennedy Center Opera House for seven performances this week, starting Tuesday through Thursday evenings with its new production of August Bournonville's infinitely charming "A Folk Tale," with new decor by Denmark's Queen Margrethe, followed by a second bill Friday, Saturday (afternoon and evening) and a Sunday matinee, featuring "La Syphide" and Act 3 of "Napoli." The thrilling New York-based troupe Elizabeth Streb Ringside performs at the Baltimore Museum of Art Friday evening. The distinguished Washington duo Karen & Alvin (Karen Bernstein and Alvin Mayes) presents solos and duets by Deborah Riley, Jan Van Dyke, Alcine Wiltz, Lisa Yount and Sharon Wyrrick. FILM

The AFI International Film Festival continues this week with screenings today of German director Jaromil Jires' "Labyrinth," about a film director, played by Maximillian Schell, making a biographical study of the life of Kafka, and "Enchanted April," British director Mike Newell's self-described "comedy of Female rebellion," starring Miranda Richardson (who also appeared in Newell's "Dance With a Stranger") and Joan Plowright. Also this week, William Friedkin ("The French Connection") will present his 1987 film "Rampage." For details call 202-785-4600.

POP MUSIC

Peter Murphy is all right, but pay attention to opening act the Nymphs, whose lead singer, Ingrid Lorre, is known for putting strange things in her mouth: Tomorrow at Lisner Auditorium.

The Wednesday Miles Davis Tribute at Wolf Trap features close associates Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter as well as local trumpeter Wallace Roney, who empathetically doubled with Miles last year at the Montreux jazz festival.

Too seldom seen or heard, the fiery musical activist Nina Simone performs at Lisner on Thursday.

Fans of Richard Thompson and Nick Drake already know John Martyn, a superb guitarist and song stylist from England who has somehow never caught America's fancy. Thursday at the Bayou.

This year's rap/go-go blast features Cypress Hill, Chubb Rock, Naughty by Nature, Das FX, Black Sheep and locals Junkyard, Rare Essence and Precise, Saturday at Capital Centre.