May Sister of the Month: Anna Maria Manalo

Anna Maria is the co-founder of a professional chamber orchestra in New York City and has served in a variety of musical endeavors as a violinist, pianist, teacher of special needs adults & children, church music director and orchestral member (from the age of 12). On May 20, Anna Maria performed as principal second violinist with the Millennium Chamber Symphony, which she helped co-found in the late 1990s and which was reorganized for that special concert of American music in a Lincoln Center auditorium in honor of White House concerts performed during the Kennedy years from 1961-1963.

Here’s more that you should know about this talented SAI musician:


My parents emigrated from the Philippines as newly-weds to attend college in St. Louis, where I was born; my father became a doctor and my mother, a teacher; “Amador” is my mother’s maiden name and my parents called me “Pumpkin”; I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, with two sisters; at age 3 my Mom gave me a toy piano which I loved; that sparked my interest in music and instruments: I began piano lessons at age 7 and violin lessons at age 9.

Education & Music Background

I earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music and earned a Master’s degree from Hunter College; I was a church music director in Brooklyn for nine years, taught music students in Harlem, played in orchestras and performed throughout the NYC area; I have been a freelance musician, composer and teacher of special needs students in several cities.


I met my husband, Stefan, in NYC and married him in 2000; Stefan is a prominent microbiologist who emigrated from Germany and studied at the University of Maryland and later at Harvard University and the University of Chicago; we left NYC in 2000, lived in Boston and Edmonton, Alberta, and Chicago briefly before moving to Denver last fall.


I’m teaching special needs pre-schoolers at the Maestro Music Institute in Arvada, playing duets with Donita Banks and doing accompanying; I enjoy reading, building robots (really!), traveling, movies and learning about Colorado history.

SAI Background

I was initiated into Rho Chapter at the University of Wisconsin and a member of Madison Alumnae Chapter for one year; I am honored and excited about being a part of Denver Alumnae Chapter as a performer and new secretary for 2017-18; my favorite parts of SAI membership are our sisterhood ties and serving others through music.

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