Aspen East? Tanglewood South? Executive Director George Moquin may not know quite what to call the Maryland Summer Institute for the Creative and Performing Arts but he is certain that this area needs the kind excitement and activity that summer cultural encampment involve.
"There is not a present in Washington, Baltimore or the state of Maryland, for the matter, an important summer arts camp such as Tanglewood, Interlochen or Aspen," said Moquin, who as assistant to the dean for cultural programs at the University of Maryland, established the Summer Institute three years ago. "As the largest educational institution in the area I feel that we have a major responsibility for cultural leadership."
Through the Summer Institute the university aims to meet that responsibility by offering a continuous round of performances, workshops, master classes and a piano festival and competition. In Morguin's view this mixture of events has benefits for everyone - the artist, the student and the public.
For the community at large he sees the Summer Institude as an accessible, inexpensive and relaxed alternately to such places as the Kennedy Center.
"You can park for free, get home earlier and many of the concerts are free," explained Moquin. "When the temperature is 90 degrees you don't want to put on a coat or tie. If you know you can come dressed informally, you're much more apt to make to effort to go to an event."
On a recent evening, for example, there was a free open rehearsal of Pucini's "La Tosca" and Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" by members of the National Opera Orchestra Workshop and singers from the area. The National Opera Orchestra Workshop is a month-long training program with is being sponsored by the Summer Institute and runs through July 15.
According to Moquin open rehearsal means that the critics are not invited, the atmosphere is relaxed and both players and the audience can dress casually. The performance may not be as polished as one which has been rehearsed longer, but the atmosphere should compensate, said Moquin. "The enjoyment will come from the informality," he explained. "I suspect there might be better rapport."
Mosquin insists that every artist who performed at the institute recently, gave a two-hour workshop on vocal jazz styling the morning of her concert.
From these teaching sessions the public can gain special insight into the arts, said Moquin. "The public should be allowed to observe what is involved in the development of the arts. We're talking about coming to a class where an artist shows how he or she arrives at his or her art, which gives a much deeper appreciation of what is going on," he continued.
There are also benefits for the artists, most of whom are quite willing to take on the teaching role, said Moquin. Charles Daellenbach, tubist with the Canadian Brass, spoke with enthusiasm about the ensemble's experience at the institute.They performed and coached brass players from the National Opera Orchestra Workshop the following morning.
"Teaching keeps us sharp," said Daellenbach. "We're soaking in, gathering as much information as they (the participants) are. It's a learning environment, a two-way street, and we're on that street with them."
This year the Summer Institute is sponsoring the first opera orchestra workshop to be held in this country. Under the direction of Eve Queler, founder and music director of the Opera Orchestra of New York, the National Opera Orchestra Workshop has drawn students from all over the country and received, in addition, a $5,000 grant from the National Opera Institute.
Queler explained, "The emphasis in opera is usually on everything except what goes on in the pit." This situation is reversed at the workshop, which concentrates on the orchestra's role and also gives players valuable experience that should have practical benefits, added Queler.
Horn player Robert Pruzin underlined the importance of getting actual opera orchestra experience. "If you've no experience in playing opera, people are often not even willing to let you audition," explained Pruzin. "In the last two years I have played in two operas. Here, in one month, I'll play six."
The National Opera Orchestra Workshop ends on July 15 with a full-length concert version of Wagner's "Tristan and Isoide," complete with champagne and lobster during intervals of the four-hour long opera.
In addition to classes and concerts in both music and dance the Summer Institute will also sponsor a week's performance of "The Music Man" and the Eighth Annual International Piano Festival and Competition. For information on all upcoming events call the University of Maryland, Tawes Theater box office at 454-2201.