Youth Ensembles to Perform

guest composer/conductor Efrain Amaya
Efrain Amaya

The Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra and Junior Strings Ensemble will present a spring concert 7 p.m. Sunday, Mar. 28, in Lehman Auditorium at Eastern Mennonite University.

The program marks the final event in a full week of public programs surrounding the inauguration of Dr. Loren E. Swartzendruber as eighth president of EMU.

The concert will feature guest composer/conductor Efrain Amaya from Pittsburgh, Pa., and three area high school students.

Amaya was born in Venezuela where he began his musical training. He earned degrees in composition and piano from the University of Indiana, Bloomington, and a master’s degree in conducting from Rice University. His compositions have been performed throughout North and South America and on
concert series throughout the Pittsburgh area, where he currently lives.

Amaya is a member of the school of music faculty at Carnegie Mellon University while also serving as music director and conductor of the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras and as assistant conductor of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Amaya’s concert appearance at EMU is funded in part by the Arts Council of the Valley.

The Shenandoah Valley Youth Orchestra is conducted by Maria Lorcas, EMU Preparatory Music violin teacher. The group will play two Slavonic Dances by Dvorak, three concerto works and an original composition by Amaya.

The ensemble is comprised of 35 high school students from Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Augusta counties as well as several college students. Students are selected by audition.

Soloists with the Youth Orchestra are Martin King, French horn, Rebecca Peck, cello; and Sarah Sachs, piano.

The Junior Strings Ensemble is conducted by Sharon M. Miller, administrative director of the EMU Preparatory Music Program. The 17-member ensemble is chosen by teacher recommendation and will perform three works, including one by Amaya.

Admission to the program is a suggested $5 donation at the door.

A reception will follow the concert, providing opportunity for the audience to meet Amaya and the student performers.