Deborah Carnahan received her B.M. in Clarinet Performance and Music Education from Biola University and a M.M. degree from the University of Southern California. She has studied with David Atkins, Mitchell Lurie, and Yehuda Gilad. In 1985, she was accepted to the International Summer Academy at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and was awarded a "Command Performance" as both a soloist and chamber player. A freelance musician, Deborah performs with several community orchestras, chamber ensembles, and Civic Light Operas in Southern California. She has also been a member of the Rio Hondo Symphony since 1982.
Mrs. Carnahan has been active as a music educator for 30 years and is currently the Instrumental Music Director at East Whittier Middle School. Since coming to East Whittier in 1984 the bands and orchestras have achieved local, state, and national recognition. In 2003 and 2004 the Wind Symphony and String Orchestra had the honor of representing our city and state with performances at Carnegie Hall in New York. Both groups were honored again in 2005 with "superior" performances at the National Band & Orchestra Festival in Orlando, Florida. In May of 2006, the Wind Ensemble & String Orchestra performed at the Heritage International Band & Orchestra Festival in Vancouver, British Columbia, earning the prestigious "Spirit of Vancouver" Award. The same honors were repeated in San Francisco in April of 2007.
In September of 2006 Deborah, along with reknown violinist Daryl Silberman, formed and founded the Whittier Area Youth Orchestra. After Daryl’s departure to teach in Oregon, Deborah continues to conduct the youth orchestra and watch its continuous growth.
Deborah has also served as Clarinet Instructor for Azusa Pacific, Biola, and CSU Long Beach Universities. She was a nominee for the 1996 L.A. County Bravo Award, sponsored by the L.A. Music Center, and was selected the 1996-97 East Whittier City School District Teacher of the Year. Deborah has served the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association as First Vice President, Vice President of H.S. Honor Groups, and as a clinician, festival adjudicator, and host. She also holds membership with California Band Directors Association and California Music Educator’s Association. She is proud to have been recognized and nominated by her former students in Who’s Who Amongst America’s Teachers seven times. Deborah is grateful to her husband, John A. Carnahan, for supporting and encouraging her to form WAYO and for being her inspiration and mentor.