Kenneth B. Amada
1931 - 2015
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1931 - 2015
Kenneth B. Amada, 83, Professor Emeritus of Piano in the School of Music at the University of Iowa, died Saturday, July 4, 2015 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics from a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall. Interment will take place at the Temple B'nai Abraham Memorial Park Cemetery in Union, NJ. Online condolences may be conveyed to the family at

Mr. Amada was a faculty member in the Piano Department of The University of Iowa School of Music from 1967-1996. He served as chair from 1986-1996. Many of his students now teach at universities and colleges across the country.

Mr. Amada was born September 30, 1931 in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Sam and Gladys Amada. He began the study of piano at the age of three and played his first full-length piano recital at the age of five. He graduated from Rutgers University at age nineteen with a major in psychology and gave his New York debut recital at Town Hall at age 21 in 1951.

Mr. Amada studied with Moriz Rosenthal (1862-1946), who was a student of Carl Mikuli (1819-1897), who in turn studied with Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849). Rosenthal was also a student of Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Other teachers included Isidor Philipp, Edward Steuermann and Constance Keene.

Mr. Amada made several hundred appearances throughout the world on radio, television, in recital and as guest soloist with symphony orchestras. He made seven international concert tours and played in every major European country including the Soviet Union. His orchestra credits included the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of both Eugene Ormandy and Arthur Fiedler, the Symphony of the Air with both Alfred Wallenstein and Milton Katims, the Detroit Symphony, the National Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony, the National Orchestra of Belgium, and the Warsaw Philharmonic.

He was a prize-winner in many competitions including the Leventritt International Competition, where he was a gold medalist and one of three finalists in both 1959 and 1960; the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition, where he was one of twelve finalists in 1960; and the Harriet Cohen International Music award, which he won in 1961. Mr. Amada was awarded touring grants by both the Rockefeller Foundation and the Office of International Education for the purpose of presenting outstanding American performers to audiences internationally.

Mr. Amada is survived by three children; Lori Amada of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Eric Amada, recently of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently residing in Mexico, and Stephanie Amada of Lansing, Michigan; and three grandchildren.

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Published in New York Times from Jul. 17 to Jul. 18, 2015.
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9 entries
June 11, 2018
Professor Amada was a wonderful man and a terrific musician. He was my piano teacher for the two years(1966-1968) I was in graduate school at Iowa. He was patient, kind, and always encouraging. In addition to being my piano instructor, Ken was also my motorcycle instructor! Yes, he actually taught me how to ride a bike. He had this very large Suzuki motorcycle. I was awed and confused at the idea that my wise and brilliant piano professor was also a biker. One day that he offered me a ride. Then he taught me the basics of how to ride, how to handle the bike, and what to look for on the road(scattered debris... observing the front wheels of nearby cars just in case they turn suddenly turn or cut you off, etc.)Ken was wonderful. Always the careful and patient instructor, be it the piano or a motorcycle. He was so good, in fact, that I bought my own motorcycle and rode it, via Interstate 80, back to Los Angeles upon my graduation. May God bless his soul.
Ira Hawkins
March 31, 2016
I did not know that Kenneth passed away. My sympathies to his family.
When I was 15 years old, I lived in the same apt. building with Kenneth and his Mom. I took piano lessons from Kenneth for many years! He was a wonderful teacher! The year was 1960. I practiced like crazy---one of the reasons is that I had my "first crush" on this handsome man!

Life went one---we moved, they moved. Today i thought about him as I often do when i look at my piano. Fond memories of a very wonderful and talented man!

I remember Kenneth had a beautiful white Jaguar at that time! Awesome!

Carole Brundage
West Orange, N.J.
Carole Brundage
July 22, 2015
I am truly very sorry for your loss.1PETER 5:10
July 20, 2015
May the God of all comfort sustain you in this time of need. May you find peace and comfort through the scriptures, prayer and family. Roman 15:5
July 20, 2015
Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.EPHESIAN 3:13&14.
July 17, 2015
To the family of Mr.Amada,my condolence to you all as prepared for the sad occasion ,may your hearts not be trouble the God Of all compassion will see you through just ask him cause he cares.
Sandra of NYC
July 13, 2015
Kenneth was a fine teacher and performer. I was his first DMA graduate. He did much for me. May he rest in peace.
Robert Koopmann, O.S.B.,
Professor of Music, President Emeritus, Saint John's University/The College of Saint Benedict.
Robert Koopmann
July 10, 2015
I remember Ken's first concert when he just arrived in Iowa City.--I believe it was done quickly in McBride Hall. We loved his music, and enjoyed his friendship. He was our neighbor--a long time ago.

Janet Trimble (Mrs. Ocie Trimble)
July 9, 2015
Arthur Houle
You will be missed! I remember with great fondness my time as your student at the University of Iowa (1986-88, DMA). Rest in peace.
Arthur Houle, Professor of Music, Colorado Mesa University
Arthur Houle
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