American conductor and composer Efraín Amaya was born in Venezuela, where he began his musical training. Continuing his studies in the United States, he earned two Bachelor of Music degrees in composition and piano from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in orchestral conducting from Rice University.
After returning to Venezuela, Maestro Amaya became the Music Director & Conductor for one of “El Sistema” Youth Symphony Orchestras based in the “Núcleo La Rinconada” in Caracas. He then returned to the USA where he held the position of Resident Conductor and Artist Lecturer in Music Theory at Carnegie Mellon University from 1993 to 2009.
He also served as Associate Conductor with the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra from 1994 to 2007. In addition he has been the Music Director & Conductor to the Greensburg American Opera, the Three Rivers Young People’s Orchestra, the Westmoreland Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Carnegie Mellon Summer Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, and the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble.
As a guest conductor Mr. Amaya has appeared with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas, the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar del Táchira, the Jóvenes Arcos de Venezuela, the Sinfónica de Maracaibo, the Giovane Filarmonica Del Veneto, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Tucumán (Argentina), the Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Veracruz (Mexico), the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra, the McKeesport Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Symphony Orchestra, the Edgewood Symphony Orchestra, the SOS Venezuela Concerts Symphony Orchestra and several youth symphonies.
Mr. Amaya’s compositions have been selected for performance at major international festivals, including the Seattle Symphony’s Viva la Música Festival; the V Congreso Iberoamericano de Llíria, (Spain), the Festival de Música de Santa Catarina in (Brazil), the American Composers Orchestra Festival of Venezuelan Music at Weill Recital Hall in New York; the II Congreso Puertorriqueño de Creación Musical in (San Juan) among many others.
In 2004, Efraín Amaya received a Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He was also 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 September 2004.
His opera Clepsydra premiered as part of the First Night celebrations in Pittsburgh as a collaborative multimedia performance for tape, live performers, and edited video projection, sponsored by the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and the Heinz Endowment.
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. Robert Boudreau, conductor and founder of the American Wind Symphony Orchestra has commissioned him Marahuaka, a concerto for 3 marimbas and Wind Symphony Orchestra; Epona’s Portal, a concerto for bassoon and Wind Symphony Orchestra and a Suite of Latin Dances among three other arrangements of his pieces for the AWSO.
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.
Maestro Amaya founded and was the Music Director of the Point Chamber Orchestra, which made its debut performance during the summer of 2006 with a tour of seven concerts in Italy. The Point Chamber Orchestra made a commercial CD released in 2009 with the Albany Records label. It featured two of Mr. Amaya’s chamber operas: Clepsydra: An Operatic Installation with 13 Performers, and Phantasmagoria? No! Phantasmagoria, receiving excellent reviews by the Pittsburgh Magazine, the American Record Guide and the Fanfare Magazine. Latest CD releases include The Jano Duo with his piece Pres-ent for flute and cello in their CD Dreaming in Color released in August of 2017, also with Albany Records label, and virtuoso flutist Alexa Still CD release of an all Amaya flute music CD called “Syzygy” in January 2018 with the Oberlin Music Record label.
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 that premiered in December of 2015, in Philadelphia.
In the spring of 2015, The Point Chamber Orchestra was reinstated as Arts Crossing, a non-profit organization dedicated to interdisciplinary arts. From the Fall of 2012 to 2017 he was one of the four national adjudicators for the National Young Arts Foundation in Miami, for their national competition selection of finalists and Presidential Scholars nominees.
He’s being, since 2007, the Music Director of TanzTheater André Koslowski, and the USA Chief Regional Officer of the CELAM (Centro Latinoamericano de Música).
Mr. Amaya is in the faculty at Minot State University as well as Western Plains Opera General Co-Director (2017-present) and the Music Director for the Minot Symphony Orchestra since the 2015-16 Season.
You may visit Mr. Amaya’s Web page at www.efrainamaya.com