Detailed Bio

Efraín Amaya was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1959, where he began his musical training.   Mr. Amaya holds two Bachelor of Music degrees in piano and composition from Indiana University (1985), and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the Shepherd School of Music, Rice University (1988).

Mr. Amaya has studied Orchestral Conducting under Samuel Jones, Uri Mayer and Benjamin Zander. His main piano teachers were Shigeo Neriki, Zadel Skolovsky and Harriet Serr, and in composition John Eaton, Juan Orrego-Salas, Frederick Fox, Ellsworth Milburn, Daniel Börtz and Ib Nørholm.

From 1985 to 1988 Mr. Amaya conducted the Campanile Orchestra, a community orchestra based at Rice University. Mr. Amaya returned to Venezuela in the Fall of 1988 where he held the position of Music Director for the Youth Symphony Orchestra "Núcleo La Rinconada" from 1989 to 1992. He has conducted several orchestras in Venezuela like the "Orquesta Municipal," the "Sinfónica de Maracaibo," the "Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela," the "Jóvenes Arcos de Venezuela," the "Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar del Táchira," and in Argentina the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tucumán.

Mr. Amaya was a Carnegie Mellon Faculty member from 1993 to the spring of 2009. As an educator in western Pennsylvania, he was the Music Director and Conductor of Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras (2000-2006), the Westmoreland Youth Symphony Orchestra (1996-2002), the Greensburg Camerata and the String Ensemble at the Susiki School (1997-1999). He has guest-conducted the Pennsylvania Music Educator Association Orchestras in 1998 and 1996. Other guest conducting appearances include concerts with the Edgewood and McKeesport Symphony Orchestras, Musik Innovations' Chamber Music Camp, the Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra and Junior Strings Ensemble, and with the Shaler Middle School and Pine-Richland High School string ensembles. From the summer of 2000 until 2010 Mr. Amaya was the Music Director and Conductor of the Carnegie Mellon Summer Orchestra and Wind Ensemble during their Pre-college program.

Mr. Amaya has participated in several Conductors' Guild workshops under figures like Sergiu Comissiona, Gustav Meir, Catherine Comet, Samuel Jones and Michael Charry. Mr. Amaya was an active participant in the orchestral conducting workshop at the Domaine Forget (St. Irenée, Canada) under the guidance of Pierre Dervaux.

Efraín A. Amaya received a 2004 Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and was a Meet The Composer Composer-in-Residence with Gateway to the Arts, WQED-FM, Renaissance City Wind Music Society and Shaler School District from September of 2001 to 2004, made possible by Meet The Composer, Inc. and its New Residencies program. Élan Recordings released his debut CD "A Sense of Time" on June 1, 2001. His octet "Polaris" was selected for performance as part of the Seattle Symphony's Viva la Música Festival on May 10, 2003. Mr. Amaya's string orchestra piece "Angelica" was commissioned and premiered by the Sewickley BACHfest this past September in Sewickley, PA. Its latest performances have been by the "Orquesta Sinfónica de la Universidad de Concepción" on June 28, 2003, and the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra on October 12, 2002. Both under the baton of Kypros Markou. The flute and piano piece "Malagigi the Sorcerer" was premiered by Alberto Almarza, flute, and Luz Manríquez, piano, as part of the Renaissance City Winds concert series in December 1999, Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Almarza and Ms. Manríquez have performed it at the 29th Annual National Flute Association Convention in Dallas, Texas, on August 16, 2001; as part of the Shady Side concert series in February 2000 and at the Julliard School of Music as part of Jeanne Baxtresser's International Flute Master class in June 2000, New York, NY. "Clepsydra: an operatic installation with 13 performers" was performed as part of the "First Night" celebrations on New Year's Eve 2000 at the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. In April of 2000, the commissioned piece for flute nonet "Bird House" was premiered as part of "Ornithology", a dance/movement performance by Michael Pestel at the National Aviary of Pittsburgh. His piece "Dúo Ami" for flute and piano was premiered in Boston as part of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project concert series in April 1996. Mr. Amaya's music has been selected for performances for the "XVII Foro Internacional de Msica Nueva Manuel Enrquez" in Mexico City (1995), during the VIII and XI "Festival Latinoamericano de Música" in Caracas (1994 & 2000), and during the American Composers Orchestra Festival of Venezuelan music, in Weill Recital Hall, New York (1994). In 1982 he participated in Franco Donatoni's summer composition seminar in Siena, Italy. This seminar included workshops with Hans Werner Henze and Brian Ferneyhough. Mr. Amaya was the winner of the Student Composition Contest in 1984 sponsored by the Dean of Indiana University with "Recuerdos" for viola solo.

His debut CD A Sense of Time was released on June 1, 2001 by Élan Recordings featuring large and chamber works. In 2004, Albany Records released the two-cello version of Silent Conversations in a CD entitled Zoo of Dreams, featuring the Amici Chamber Players. His flute and cello duo Pres-ent commissioned and premiered by Gerald Carey and Tanya Carey releasing it in their CD Golden Celebration in December of 2013. The American Record Guide wrote: "The variety of moods Amaya conjures from the two instruments is exemplary" in their July/August 2014 issue.

His cello concerto Un Camino, commissioned by renowned cellist Kim Cook with a grant from the Pennsylvania Arts Council, premiered in August of 2013. Other recent works include Archipiélagos for Eb clarinet and piano, commissioned by Venezuelan virtuoso clarinetist Jorge Montilla; Irmgard's Mementos, a three movement piano solo work commissioned by Tanner Film and Art; Chocolat for solo bassoon commissioned and premiered by Jim R. Whipple; Marahuaka, a concerto for 3 marimbas and Wind Symphony Orchestra and Epona's Portal, a concerto for bassoon and Wind Symphony Orchestra both commissioned by Robert Boudreau and the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.

His two act opera La Bisbetica, commissioned and performed by International Opera Theater was premiered in August of 2010 in Italy; it was then invited to participate in the Bergamo International Festival of 2011 at Bergamo, Italy. Mr. Amaya was invited and completed a residency at Yaddo, NY, during the summer of 2012 where he worked on his latest chamber opera Constellations, to be premiered in December of 2015, in Philadelphia. Since the Fall of 2012 he has been one of the four national adjudicators for the National YoungArts Foundation in Miami, for their national competition selection of finalists and Presidential Scholars nominees. He is also since 2007 the Music Director of Tanz Theater André Koslowski and the USA Chief Regional Officer of the CELAM (Centro Latinoamericano de Música).

Mr. Amaya has recently joined the faculty at Minot State University and has been named the Music Director for the Minot Symphony Orchestra, starting with the 2015-16 Season.
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