ASTRAEUS’ mission is to bring exciting chamber works of the past and present to new audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 2018, the quartet is comprised of violinists Mia Nardi-Huffman and Samuel Nelson, violist Daphne Gooch, and cellist Jorge Maresch. The players have spent the last decade as colleagues and friends, performing chamber music together a wide variety of settings, including their alma mater: the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
ASTRAEUS is passionate about performing in unconventional spaces, which have included decommissioned cotton mills, art deco-themed bars, greenhouses, and more. As affiliated artists of InterMusic SF, ASTRAEUS performed at SF Music Day 2019 at the War Memorial Veterans Building. Most recently, the quartet launched their annual Commissioning Initiative, where they seek to sponsor underrepresented composers in classical music. For 2020, they will commission a new work from an LGBTQ+-identifying composer to be workshopped with the quartet in the spring and premiered in June for Pride Month. Astraeus looks forward to a continuing collaboration with the Shelldance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica CA, where they offer donation-based concerts inside of an active greenhouse, and the Astraeus Salon Series in San Francisco, where they perform works in an intimate setting along with food and wine.
The members of ASTRAEUS hold degrees from San Francisco Conservatory of Music in the Bachelors and Masters Degree tiers, as well as the Manhattan School of Music and San Francisco’s Academy Orchestra. They have had the privilege of being coached by current or former members of the Concord, Ives, Kronos, and Telegraph String Quartets.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to us, you may do so through our fiscal sponsor, InterMusic SF! Donate online at https://sffcm.giv.sh/c3c5 or by check*. You may be able to double the impact of your donation through corporate matching. Check with your employer today to see if they provide matching charitable gifts.
*Checks should be made out to InterMusic SF, with "Astraeus String Quartet" noted in the memo line. Please mail your check to InterMusic’s offices at 1446 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94102*
Mia Nardi-Huffman is an Oakland-based violinist who specializes in the performance of contemporary chamber music. Raised in Connecticut, she moved to California in 2010 to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she completed her BM in 2014 and MM in 2016, both under the tutelage of Bettina Mussumeli. A member of several Bay-Area ensembles, including Wild Rumpus and Elevate Ensemble, she is a founding member of ASTRAEUS, with whom she is excited to share exciting musical works of the present and past in innovative spaces! You can find more of Mia, including a full bio, audio and video links, and a performance calendar, on her website: mianardihuffman.com.
Samuel Nelson is a native born South Dakotan who began his string studies at the age of eight. He started taking private lessons at the age of fourteen with his teachers Coral White, and Carol Knowles. Eventually, at the age of eighteen, he continued his studies with Kate Weeks. Sam is a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Jodi Levitz. He performs with various Bay Area Ensembles, such as One Found Sound, and he is currently violin faculty at Little Mission Studios. As a founding member of ASTRAEUS, he is excited to be performing works he always dreamed of preparing with some of his most admired colleagues.
A native of Santa Rosa, California, Daphne Gooch attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for her Bachelor’s degree where she studied with Madeline Prager. She later studied with Jonathan Vinocour while in the San Francisco Academy and then moved to New York for two years for her Masters degree in Orchestral Performance from Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Karen Dreyfus. She now teaches and freelances all over the Bay Area playing in various ensembles including the Santa Rosa Symphony and enjoys going up to Portland, Oregon to play with the Oregon Ballet Theatre Orchestra as their Assistant Principal violist.
Jorge Maresch is a San Francisco based freelance cellist with a passion for contemporary chamber music. He made his solo debut performance playing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Las Vegas Philharmonic in 2011. He moved to San Francisco in 2011 to work on his BM with Jean-Michel Fonteneau and received his MM with Jennifer Culp from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Jorge is a dedicated teacher at Syntonique Studios in SoMa and loves to coach chamber groups. He specializes in chamber music performance and is excited to be a part of the ASTRAEUS String Quartet to share musical works that inspire us.