Kevin Schaffter was born in Thailand and has spent the majority of his life overseas in Vietnam, Laos, India, Kyrgyzstan and Romania. The impetus to found MusAid came from witnessing the hardships many musicians face in developing countries with obtaining quality music education and instruments. Kevin holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University and a Master of Music degree from The Yale School of Music where he studied with Clarinet Professor David Shifrin. Kevin has had extensive teaching experience in Belize, El Salvador, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and in Palestine where he was on faculty at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music. In 2011 he won The Yamaha Young Performing Artist competition for clarinet. Kevin has given recitals in Romania, India, Italy, Switzerland, El Salvador, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Laos and has performed as a soloist in Kyrgyzstan with the Bishkek Philharmonic Orchestra. In his free time Kevin enjoys traveling and brewing coffee from around the world. kevinschaffter.com
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, double bassist Andrea Beyer is a performer and advocate for using music as a tool for social growth. Aiming to build young people’s interest in music, Andrea has performed recitals and taught masterclasses in Mexico, El Salvador and Bolivia. She has worked with numerous New Haven public school music programs and been a faculty member of Peabody Bass Works. An active performer, Andrea has played at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, has performed with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, John Adams, and Sarah Chang, and has toured in Central and South America with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas. Inspired by a love of chamber music, she is also an arranger, working to increase the repertoire for the double bass. Andrea holds a Masters Degree from Yale University where she studied with Donald Palma and a Bachelors Degree from Oberlin Conservatory where she studied with Thomas Sperl.
Kim Mai Nguyen
Originally from France, Kim Mai Nguyen is a violist, music educator and community arts leader based in the San Francisco Bay Area. An enthusiastic advocate for music education, she is involved in several community programs and has taught and mentored with El Sistema-inspired programs both in the United States and abroad. Most recently, Kim Mai lived in Kingston, Jamaica, where she worked with the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica. Other projects abroad include workshops and cultural diplomacy visits to Guatemala, Belize, Mexico and Afghanistan. Equally passionate about performance from the baroque to the contemporary, Kim Mai is active as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player. She is also a member of the world music ensemble Drifing East. Kim Mai holds B.M. and M.M. degrees from The Juilliard School. For more information, please visit her website: kimmainguyen.com
Venezuelan violinist María José Romero Ramos is an active performer and pedagogue passionate about the historical performance practice of all eras as well as high quality music education as a tool for social empowerment. Maria started her musical training in Valencia, Venezuela as part of El Sistema, and she is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Music in Violin at Indiana University. As her mentors and inspiration, Maria has had Julia Bushkova and Kevork Mardirossian on the modern violin, Cynthia Roberts and Stanley Ritchie on the baroque violin, and Mimi Zweig in her pedagogical training. She has recently performed with Musica Angelica, New Vintage Baroque, International Chamber Players and Fantasmi Baroque Ensemble in Vietnam, Princeton Baroque Festival Orchestra, Mountainside Baroque, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, Orchester Wiener Akademie in Austria, and the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project. Maria is an alumni of the Sphinx Competition, having worked with the Sphinx Organization to promote diversity in the arts and performed in venues such as the Isaac Stern Hall in Carnegie Hall with the Sphinx Virtuosi. She is on the violin faculty at the Indiana University Pre-College String Academy in Bloomington, Indiana, where she works alongside a team of outstanding pedagogues, including Mimi Zweig and Brenda Brenner. Maria joined the MusAid team in 2013, and she has since then enjoyed working as teacher and coordinator at socially-minded music schools around the world contributing to their long-term sustainability.
A graduate of The Juilliard School and Oberlin Conservatory, American cellist Avery Waite is an active performer, composer and international music education advocate based in India. Fascinated by the possibilities of cross-cultural musical dialogues, he is a recipient of a 2016-2017 Fulbright Grant to study Hindustani music in Delhi. Avery has performed and taught at music programs around the world, including in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Jamaica, El Salvador and many other countries. Avery is on faculty with American Voices, a US state department organization at the forefront of cultural diplomacy through its work in cross-cultural engagement. Avery is an active composer and arranger. Inspired by his experiences teaching and performing abroad, he has done extensive arranging of traditional Indo-Afghan, Central Asian and Kurdish folk music. Avery performs this music with his ensemble Drifting East and the group recently released its debut album entitled Songs and Melodies of Afghanistan.
Scott has over five years of experience in online systems development in an international context. Most recently he has focused on online-learning and collaboration tools. Specifically, while working with PSI he was responsible for the development of its internal collaboration tool “SocialCast”, developing its online University, as well as developing PSI’s new online document collaboration tool “WorkSmart”. Scott spoke at the Masie Learning 2012 conference around online community development and has been invited as a guest lecturer to UPenn’s CLO program to showcase effective online community development techniques. He has worked in Thailand, Laos, El Salvador, China, Kyrgyzstan and Canada. Scott’s leads MusAid’s online systems development and design.