Andrew Giordano, violin and artistic director
A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Andrew Giordano began playing the violin at the age of five. He was a founding member and performed with the award-winning Altius Quarte for nine seasons. As a member of the quartet, Andrew won several awards and toured internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia. the Altius Quartet recorded three albums on the Parma Records label: “Dress Code” (a crossover album), “Shostakovich String Quartets Nos 7, 8, and 9,” and “Quadrants Volume 3,” which is comprised of never-recorded works by living composers.
Andrew holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Indiana University where he studied with Kathleen Winkler, Federico Agostini, and Koichiro Harada. After graduating from Indiana, he went on to complete his Master of Music degree at Southern Methodist University under the tutelage of Emanuel Borok. From 2014-2017, Andrew and the Altius Quartet held the position of Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at University of Colorado Boulder and were mentored by the Takács Quartet. While at CU Boulder, Andrew also studied privately with Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes of the Takács Quartet.
In addition to performing, Andrew is a passionate teacher. Now in his eighteenth year of teaching, Andrew has taken several graduate-level pedagogy seminars and Suzuki Method teaching courses. Andrew and his wife Nathália Kato have a private teaching studio together, and actively perform as a violin/piano duo under the name “Duo Pragma.”
Andrew is passionate about enabling kids from underserved communities to study music, regardless of income. He is Artistic Director of Boulder MUSE, an El Sistema-type organization dedicated to providing group music lessons for young musicians who cannot afford to pay for private lessons.
Michael Maisonpierre, saxophone
Flute / Clarinet / Trumpet
Michael Maisonpierre has been a lawyer and a writer, and during all that time, a musician. He plays saxophone, flute, clarinet and trumpet, and though he plays mostly jazz, he enjoys classical too. In addition to being an invaluable teacher for MUSE, he is also the Board Secretary.
Stephanie Fida, clarinet
Stephanie is a native of Connecticut, but six years after first visiting Boulder, she adopted Colorado as her new home in 2012. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Indiana University, where she completed dual undergraduate majors in Music (clarinet) and Ethnomusicology and a Minor in Spanish. She also earned an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University, and an M.S. in Music Education from the University of New Haven. During the 2012-2013 school year, she began to work at Columbine Elementary School and discovered her passion for working with the bilingual student population.
Stephanie has taught general music, beginning band, marching band, and choir with students from kindergarten to 12th grade. She maintains a private studio of clarinet, saxophone and piano students. Stephanie is thrilled that Boulder MUSE chose Columbine as its home base, and hopes to work with the program for many years to come.
Miguel Soldevila, guitar and choir
Miguel Soldevila is a teacher and professional performer of several instruments. He studied Popular Music and Performance at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. As a professional, he teaches a variety of instruments and has performed primarily as a singer and guitarist, in a variety of settings throughout the United States, the Caribbean and abroad. An experienced and passionate music educator, Miguel has taught a variety of classes and workshops for elementary and high school age children, at both private and public schools in Puerto Rico. He has also taught private courses such as instrumentation, music theory, world music, percussion ensembles and concert band. Through his teaching, Miguel hopes to inspire students; he addresses elements of setting goals and the importance and benefits that music brings to our lives.
Rex Westen, cello
Rex began piano at age five, and cello at age eight. He took up cello again twenty years ago, and that journey led him from amateur to teaching professional. He currently teaches at Mojo's Music in Longmont, and at The Lesson Studio in Boulder. Rex began volunteering with Muse in fall of 2016.
Victor Mestas Pérez, choir accompanist
Piano / Keyboards / Arranger / Producer / Transcriptions
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Victor was the endorsement artist for Yamaha musical products in Venezuela since 2001. Mestas has performed (as pianist/ keyboardist/arranger/producer) for renowned bands and singers in Venezuela, including Guaco, Soledad Bravo, Maria Rivas and Cheo Feliciano, and Julio Iglesias (Uruguay/Argentina tour in 2010). Victor moved to Boulder in 2012 with his wife and daughters and is performing on the Brazilian-Latin Jazz-World music scene:
Dexter Payne Quintet, Ginga, Los Chicos Malos and many others.
Currently he is conducting the Thompson Studies Latin Jazz Ensemble, at CU Boulder, College of Music.
Grace Hemmer, violin
Grace began taking private violin lessons at the age of 4. By the time she reached high school, she was both an accomplished violinist and teacher, and was a teaching assistant for elementary and middle school orchestra students. She received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri - Kansas City. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the College of Music at CU Boulder. An experienced teacher, Grace also taught at Harmony Project in Kansas City, which is a similar program to Boulder MUSE. In her spare time, Grace enjoys reading and spending time outside.
Jake Aschenbrenner, guitar
Jake Aschenbrenner is a guitar teacher and professional performer. He originally studied music theory with his father, a professional composer, and has continued his own personal music education to this day. Jake brings his experience as a songwriter and touring musician in multiple genres to the classroom as a music instructor. He emphasizes the importance of small steps and consistent effort, balancing a basic understanding of theory with a passion for music that is necessary to develop the craft. With over 10 years of cumulative teaching experience, Jake continues to learn from each of the students he encounters.