Aquiles Figueroa- Violin / Viola
Mr Figueroa is owner and shop foreman at the Stradivari House of phoenix, established in 2013 with the mission to provide high quality instruments, world class education, and the finest repair and restoration services to the valley of the sun and the greater southwest United States.
In 2018 he co-founded the Phoenix Renaissance Orchestra with the mission to provide a fun filled and judgement free space for wayward and lost musicians to gather and experience the joy and love of music making with new friends and great music from the past and present. This particular endeavor has become a second home having made new wonderful friends and family.
Mr. Figueroa began teaching fellow high school orchestra mates in 1996 but really honed his skills during undergrad with Suzuki certification with Marilyn O’Boyle and later teaching fellowships at the Universities of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Mr. Figueroa has served as faculty at the Barthelmes Conservatory as a violin teacher and Founder\Director of the Conservatory Chamber Orchestra, and a member of the Barthelmes Duo, ensemble previously in residence at the Conservatory. Later teaching positions would include other public and private organizations such as Brophy College Prep and Sounds Academy.
Mr Figueroa maintains an active award-winning private teaching studio of 23 years with former students in illustrious performance careers, top tier universities, conservatories, and more recently student winners of the North Valley Youth Symphony concerto competition, and concert masters of all-regional festivals and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.
Aquiles Figueroa holds a degree in Violin Performance from the University of Tulsa, where he studied violin with Maureen O'Boyle and Derry Deane. He is also alumnus of the Meadowmount School of Music in New York, where he studied solo performace and chamber music with distinguished Professors Paula Sokol-Elliott and Alan Bodman.
During his masters in performance and orchestral conducting at the University of Arkansas, he performed with the Fulbright Trio, faculty string ensemble at the University of Arkansas, with renowned cellist Dennis Parker from Louisiana State university, and conducted a performance of the University Chamber Orchestra, in which he also sat concertmaster. All While pursuing a masters in orchestral conducting from the renowned Dr. David Goza.
During Aquiles' masters at the University of Oklahoma he was first violinist of resident fellowship graduate quartet the Crouse String Quartet, concert master of the University Symphony, and held a graduate teaching assistantship.
Erika Middleton-Sharp - Bass
Erika Middleton-Sharpe is an upright and electric bassist, from Everett, Washington. Erika holds a Bachelor’s degree in Upright Bass performance from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, where she studied instrumental technique, Jazz repetoire, and music business. In addition to upright bass, Erika has studied vocal technique and performs as a vocalist in jazz, R&B, and folk ensembles. Erika has performed at the Bern Jazz Festival in Berne, Switzerland, Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan, and the legendary Smalls Jazz club in Manhattan’s West Village.
As a high school student, Erika participated in Solo & Ensemble, All State Orchestra, Jazz at Centrum Port Townsend, playing in Orchestral, Big Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz combo settings.participated in Solo & Ensemble, All State Orchestra, Jazz at Centrum Port Townsend, playing in Orchestral, Big Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz combo settings.
Upright bass students find themselves with a number of issues when starting their journey with the instrument. Erika’s multidisciplinary approach to music gives her a deep understanding of the function and importance of the bass across every single musical genre.
Katrina Becker - Violin
Katrina Becker is an active chamber, solo and orchestral music performer -- she's a partner in the Allegro Quartet and has played with MusicaNova Orchestra, the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, the West Valley Symphony and the Mesa Symphony (now Symphony of the Southwest).
Katrina started studying the violin at four and soon added piano, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Arizona University. She taught English as a second language in Taiwan, and currently teaches private string lessons at Stradivari House of Phoenix.
Katrina helps coordinate and coach Phoenix Junior Strings, has adjudicated for the Arizona Music Educators Association and the North Valley Symphony Orchestra Summerford Violin Concerto Competition, and serves on the board of the Grand Canyon Music Festival. She worked as operations coordinator for The Phoenix Symphony before spending ten years as an on-air music host and public affairs coordinator at all-classical 89.5 KBAQ.
Katrina has written articles, reviews, website content and program notes for organizations and publications including Opera Magazine (UK), Chamber Music Northwest, Downtown Phoenix Journal, StringRiffs.com, AZ-Lifestyle Magazine, Phoenix Chamber Music Society, Phoenix Chorale, Arizona Opera and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.