B i o g r a p h y
Amy Scurria is a multi-award winning composer. Her most recent opera, A.L.I.C.E. won third place in the American Prize, was presented at three notable conferences, has achieved two premieres (chamber and full orchestra) within a year, and has been the recipient of three grants.
Scurria started composing at the age of 8, having no idea that 40 years later, she would be late diagnosed as autistic. Sound comes naturally to her mind, a mind that loves puzzles. Composing is the ultimate puzzle and she’s dedicated her life to creating new works. While words were sometimes difficult, music provided a space for unhindered expression. A trained pianist, Scurria uses improvisation and dance to sketch musical ideas.
Scurria has been honored to have garnered performances around the world, including a premiere at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia of a new work, commissioned by the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras along with co-composer, Steve Heitzeg.
In 1998, Scurria became the youngest composer to ever be published by Theodore Presser Company. Since that time, Scurria has developed her own publishing company, Adamo Press, and maintains publication of all but three of her works (which remain with Theodore Presser Co.).
Scurria is honored to speak on her late diagnosis and most recently presented (alongside librettist and partner Zane Corriher) on A.L.I.C.E. at the 2024 National Opera Association Conference. The well-received talk focused on the importance of identity, and Alice as the autistic experience.
Scurria is proud to partner with her librettist, Zane Corriher. After the launch and success of their first project, A.L.I.C.E., they are working together on several new projects, all operas, where both have found their creative “home.”
Scurria’s obsession with music led her to earn four higher degrees: a bachelors in music composition from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, a masters in music composition from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, and a masters and a PhD in music composition from Duke University (dissertation: PEARL, the opera; academic advisor: Stephen Jaffe.)
Along with focusing on composing, Scurria plans to continue educating audiences about autism. It is important to Scurria to dispel myths (driven by diagnostic criteria that was based solely upon the observations of white boys) such as, all autistic people behave the same way, think the same way, are incapable, etc. She hopes to bring awareness of the full spectrum of the diversity and gifts of the autistic community, empowering autistic individuals to love and express themselves fully while enabling allistic individuals with mindsets and behaviors to support their autistic friends, loved ones, and colleagues. She joins a growing movement of autistic adults who are striving to add our voices to the discourse on autism so that younger girls+ and non-white boys+ might have the support that late diagnosed autistics couldn’t receive.