YPC’s Maria Claudia Peña Is Awarded The PASEsetter Award

Assistant Conductor Maria Peña conducts YPC’s Winter Concert at Carnegie Hall, photo by Stephanie Berger

We are pleased to announce that YPC Assistant Conductor Maria Claudia Peña has been awarded the PASEsetter Award, honoring afterschool educators whose commitment, energy and creativity have had an indelible impact on the children and youth of New York City. 

Ms. Peña first joined YPC in 2012 as the Artistic Assistant, and was eager to join a program where she could have an opportunity to influence young people’s lives. Over the next four years, she transitioned to the role of Conducting Fellow where she trained in YPC’s curriculum and teaching pedagogy, then to Assistant Conductor, when she was invited to be the principal conductor of the Intermezzo division. She later became the coordinator of YPC’s Community Choruses program.

In both her teaching and conducting, Maria is singularly talented and impactful. Above and beyond her musical teaching skills, she develops and maintains close relationships with the choristers and their families, taking an interest in their lives and concerns, and works diligently inside and outside the rehearsal room to break down barriers to learning and performance opportunities. Maria demonstrates firsthand that successful programs start at the grassroots level and are built upon investment, care, passion, and interpersonal relationships.

As a tireless champion for children, Maria deserves the recognition for her work in providing high-quality music education and mentorship to children of many different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds from across New York City.