As a five-year-old growing up in a prominent musical family in San Francisco, Eva Hornyak was taken to many classical-music concerts.

"Why shouldn't today's kids have that same pleasure? There's so very little in classical-music programs for children," she lamented three years ago.

Not long after, Hornyak bargained with agents and obtained services such as reduced hall fees and free brochure typesetting from friends at the University of Maryland, and Classical Vibes became a reality.

This concert series for "middle-aged children," aged 8 to 13, was, Hornyak explains, "designed to communicate the intense fascination and joy of music to children.

"Performers demonstrate a wide variety of musical approaches and techniques, ranging from the human voice to classical instruments to electronic tapes -- with a dash of modern dance for good measure."

The first offering of this year's series combined the music of clarinetist Richard Stolzman and pianist-bassoonist William Douglas, who deftly involved the audience at the University of Maryland's Tawes Fine Arts Center Recital Hall recently.

Improvising duets, clapping hands in time, tapping toes and chanting, the performers presented the elements of melody and rhythm. There were stopping points at which some of the approximately 60 children asked questions.

Hornyak, now cultural affairs coordinator for the university, hastens to point out the difference between performing in schools, "the kids' familiar home ground, and having the kids come to the stranger environment of the concert hall." At the concert hall, she says, "They're more attentive."

Stolzman described how he learned the clarinet at age 7 or 8. A small blond boy asked how much he practiced on his instrument. The musicians answered, "Four hours a day."

"Me too!" yelled a little girl in the front row.

Douglas, a pianist since age 4, has been going into schools for more than eight years for what he calls "the fun of music making, sharpening the kids' listening skills and allowing their teachers to pick up where we left off."

At the end of the 50-minute concert, the artists suggested that those who had more questions should come down to the front of the stage. Many did.

A multimedia concert of new American music will be the next program in the series, set for Valentine's Day 1981. Three weeks later, on March 7, there will be an opera workshop with costumed scenes to introduce that very complex art form to the youthful audience.

Hornyak has also begun a new University Community Concert series with accomplished young performers.

"Five years ago, almost no one from outside came onto the Maryland campus. Now, we have an audience built up and we're bringing in major artists from without," she said.

Some of the notable artists in this series are Edward Flower, playing the lute and guitar (Dec. 7); Chen Chein-Tai, who plays the cheng, a 16-string zither and the nan hi, a two-string fiddle (Jan. 25); composers Lawrence Moss and Carman Moore, presenting their music in a multimedia format (Feb.15); and the Mozartean Players, who are devoted to 18th-century music (April 12).

Hornyak and Katherine Hay, associate director of concerts, are looking forward to videotaping concerts and having them broadcast.

For further information, call 454-3322.