Campus News in Brief

Amaya releases chamber operas

Efraín Amaya, a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Music, celebrated the release of his two chamber opera CDs, Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria and Clepsydra with a CD signing at Borders Books in Penn Circle on Sunday. The CD was officially released Feb. 1. Special performers at the event included opera singers Jeanne Wentworth and Douglas Ahlstedt, associate voice professor at the School of Music, as well as the Point Chamber Orchestra, founded and directed by Amaya.

Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria is a children’s opera featuring Latin and hip-hop sounds. The opera's main character, a little boy named Henry, attends The Ghosts of the Opera with his parents and drifts into a deep sleep. The performance details the intensity of Henry’s daydreams and the ways in which they combine with the opera that he is currently watching. Phantasmagorilla? No! Phantasmagoria is a family creation, as Amaya’s wife wrote the libretto and his son stars as Henry.

Clepsydra is a more philosophical opera described as a journey through time in the fusion of sound and visual arts. It first premiered at Pittsburgh’s “First Night” celebration in 1999 and, like Phantasmagorilla, was written by Amaya’s wife.

Amaya’s compositions have been featured at several international festivals, including the Seattle Symphony’s Viva La Musica Festival and the Annual National Flute Association Conventions.

Tuition hike lowest since 1975

On Feb. 23, Carnegie Mellon announced its lowest tuition increase since 1975 — just 2.94 percent. The university's main motivation for the low tuition hike was to help ease the economy’s effect on students and their families, according to a University press release.

Each year, the university has raised prices in a tiered manner, with last year’s increase just over 6 percent, according to a University press release.

Incoming first-year students in the fall of 2009 will pay $40,300. Tuition will be $36,832 for students who came in 2004 and 2005, $38,088 for 2006, $39,650 for 2007, and $40,300 for 2008.

The university has undertaken several projects in the past few months to sustain and cut down costs on existing programs, including departmental budgets, the School of Computer Science Complex, and other university-wide projects.

The $1 billion Capital Campaign publicly launched at this year’s Homecoming has already raised about $565 million.

Carnegie Mellon Vice President for Campus Affairs Michael Murphy said that the university was careful to consider all of its available options and weigh input from parents and students to determine where to cut the budget and how to raise the tuition prices.

Rising tuition costs have not affected the volume of applications received for the fall: as of Feb. 1, Carnegie Mellon received 22,780 applications for 1,360 spots in the incoming first-year class.