Maria Peña is a vocalist and educator currently serving an Associate Conductor and Director of Community Choruses at YPC. Inspired by YPC’s work with children and the community, Maria joined the organization in 2012 and enjoys using her past experiences to help the young choruses grow and find their own voices.
In her position, she co-conducts the Intermezzo division and oversees the after-school community choruses in Washington Heights and at Goddard Riverside. Additionally, she is a conductor for the School Choruses program, which brings YPC’s unique music curriculum into New York City schools. In 2019, Maria was awarded the PASEsetter Award for her commitment to children’s afterschool education.
Originally from Colombia, Maria came to YPC after conducting with the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus. She also served as the conductor for a retirement community chorus in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2019, Maria was invited to conduct overseas at a summer choral camp in the Canary Islands, Spain.
In addition to completing three levels of the Choral Music Experience Institute with Doreen Rao, Marie holds a Bachelor of Music, summa cum laude, in voice performance from the University of North Florida (UNF), where she was the assistant conductor for the UNF Chorale, the UNF Chamber Singers, and co-conductor of the Women’s Chorale. Maria also has training in the Kodaly methodology. In her free time, Maria enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and young daughter, Emilia.