2018 Faculty: Strings

 Sue Temple, Founder

Sue Temple

Sue Temple is the Founder and Artistic Director of Just Chamber Music and violist with the String Quartet Con Brio - http://quartetconbrio.com/.  Performing in the Front Range area since 1976, she has played extensively with the Ft. Collins Symphony and Greeley Philharmonic Orchestras and continues to perform as a freelance musician throughout Colorado.  As an advocate for the viola, Mrs. Temple has maintained an active private viola studio for over 40 years. Her students have won top prizes in various Concerto Competitions and have been selected to perform in the master classes of violists and acclaimed chamber musicians including Victoria Chiang, Roger Chase, Jesse Levine, Simon Rowland-Jones, Carol Rodland, Dr. Juliet White-Smith, James Holland, Felicia Moye and the Borromeo, Cavani, Alexander and Miami String Quartets.

Outside of private teaching, Mrs. Temple is a sought after clinician and coach for middle schools, high schools, Solo and Ensemble Competitions and various Viola Day Events (most recently at Ohio State University).

Originally from the New England area, Sue received her bachelor’s degree in Music with an emphasis in Performance from Bennington College in Vermont and a second Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Therapy from Colorado State University.

"Participation in Chamber Music provides an opportunity to bring out the very best in all of us as musicians and enriches our lives."
 Jean Farley, Co-Founder

Jean Farley

Jean Farley earned her B.M. in Violin Performance from New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida where she had the opportunity to study with Ida Haendel, Cathy Meng-Robinson, and Rafael Druian. She has spent multiple summers in attendance at Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts, and spent a summer studying violin in Stuttgart, Germany. 

Jean has a special interest in chamber music. She has received chamber music training from the Miami String Quartet, Felix Galimir, Yo Yo Ma, and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. She has performed and coached extensively throughout her musical training and her professional career.

Jean spent many years in the southern United States performing in orchestras, playing chamber music and teaching violin throughout Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. She held the position of Artist-in-Residence at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, where she directed the middle-school orchestra program.  She has also been an instructor with Suzuki Talent Education Program in Atlanta, Georgia.

Currently, Jean performs with the Fort Collins Symphony and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestras.  Jean has held a private violin studio for over 20-years, helping nurture and inspire young violinists to excel in music.

Jean resides in Fort Collins with her husband, Rob, and their four wonderful children.  She delights in volunteering in her children’s schools, cheering them on in hockey or baseball, and watching them dance. In their free time, Jean and her family enjoy camping.


 Heidi Mausbach, cello

Heidi Mausbach

Cellist Heidi Mausbach, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, has enjoyed a fulfilling and diverse orchestral career throughout the US.  She has played with the Naples Philharmonic, the Florida Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera and was principal cellist of the Greeley Philharmonic from 2000-2008. Currently, she is assistant principal of the Cheyenne Symphony, a busy freelance musician and private teacher.  

Heidi has performed in master classes for Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot, and Yo-Yo Ma.  She is enthusiastic about chamber music and looks forward to every chance she gets to play and teach quartets!


 Ben Tomkins, violin

Ben Tomkins

Benjamin Tomkins has distinguished himself as violinist, composer, writer and educator. He received his M.A. from the Cleveland Institute of Music in violin performance, and subsequently won a position with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with numerous other orchestras, and has coached extensively as a chamber musician with members of the Cleveland, Miami, Penderecki, Tokyo, Miro,
and Arditti quartets.

As a composer, Mr. Tomkins has had his music performed in recitals and concerts across the country. Most recently, his String Quartet was performed as part of the Breckenridge Music Festival winter series, and he is currently engaged this fall for the premier of his piano trio at CU Boulder and a piece for string orchestra for the Denver School of the Arts.

Mr. Tomkins currently serves as Director and principle violin instructor for Strings Attached, a non-profit string music initiative in Englewood and Sheridan, CO to provide string education to communities without means or availability. Under his tenure the program has expanded dramatically, and his skills as an arranger have allowed Strings Attached to present diverse programming including Carnival of the Animals, Rodeo, the Nutcracker, Peer Gynt, units on French Impressionism and the Russian Five, and a staged version of Bizet’s Carmen. Future programming includes Dvorak, the Magic Flute, and American in Paris.

Finally, this year Mr. Tomkins was appointed director of the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra Philharmonia Orchestra.

Benjamin currently lives in Denver with his wife Robyn, their cat Molly, and their dog Wallace. When not involved in music, he occupies himself writing a column for the Dayton City Paper and his blog, running, and cooking.


 Margaret Miller, viola

Zack Reaves

Zachary Reaves is a highly sought after cellist and chamber musician. He is a founding member of the award-winning Altius Quartet and has performed in prestigious venues across the globe. He holds degrees in cello and chamber music performance from Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts and the University of Colorado - Boulder. His principal teachers include Andres Diaz, Christopher Adkins, Andras Fejer, David Requiro, Thomas Heinrich, Jim Shelley, and Greg Sauer.

As a member of the Altius Quartet, Reaves has received many awards, including the Silver Medal in the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Zachary and the Altius Quartet served as the Fellowship Ensemble in Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder where they were assistants to the world-renowned Takåcs Quartet. He and the Altius have collaborated with some of the top names in music, including Geraldine Walther, Anton Nel, Michelle DeYoung, Andres Diaz, Peter Nágy, Håkan Rosengren, and Oliver Treindl.

Zachary has appeared in chamber music festivals around the world, such as the Banff Centre,
Intimacy of Creativity - Hong Kong, Aspen Music Festival, Music in the Mountains, Innsbrook
Institute Emerging Artist Program, Orvieto Musica, Colorado Music Festival, and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival. From 2011-2014, he served as the founding artistic director for Bridge the Gap Chamber Players, a Dallas-based chamber music series aimed at building new audiences for classical music.

Dedicated to promoting works by living composers, Reaves has premiered over 20 new works, including pieces by Michael Ippolito, Loren Loiacono, JP Merz, Michael van der Sloot, Nathan Courtright and YoungWoo Yoo. He has also worked closely with composers such as Kevin Puts, William Bolcom, Bright Sheng, and Joel Puckett.

Zachary’s discography includes recordings on the Centaur and Navona labels. In 2014, he performed on the debut album for the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble. He also released two albums with the Altius Quartet in 2017: Dress Code and Shostakovich String Quartets Nos. 7, 8, & 9.

When away from his cello, Zachary enjoys hiking, snowboarding, waterskiing, and good food. He is currently based in Westminster, Colorado with his wife, Parisa, and his two dogs, Cassie and Blue.

Reaves plays on a cello made in 1969 by W.E. Hill & Sons and a bow made in 2007 by David Forbes.


 Margaret Gutierrez

Sarah Guyver

Sarah Avery, violist, studied with Georges Janzer at Indiana University, Simon Rowland-Jones in London, England and Michael Kimber at the University of Kansas. She has enjoyed a wide range of musical experiences, including playing with orchestras in South America and Europe, among them the Venezuela Symphony orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of St. Johns in London. She was co-founder of the String Orchestra of the Rockies in Montana and the String Quartet Program of Northern Colorado. She plays viola in the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra.


Andrew Giordano

A native of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Andrew Giordano began playing the violin at the age of five. He is currently a violinist and founding member of the award-winning Altius Quartet. As a member of the quartet, Andrew has won awards and toured internationally in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

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 SMU under the tutelage of Emanuel Borok. From 2014-2017, Andrew and the Altius Quartet were the Fellowship String Quartet-in-Residence at University of Colorado – Boulder and were mentored by the Takács Quartet. While at CU – Boulder Andrew studied privately with Edward Dusinberre and Károly Schranz of the Takács Quartet, as well as Charles Wetherbee and Harumi Rhodes.

Andrew has performed as soloist, orchestral, and chamber musician at many respected music festivals including the Aspen Music Festival, National Repertory Orchestra, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, and Colorado Music Festival. 

In addition to performing, Andrew is a passionate teacher. Now in his fifteenth year of teaching, Andrew has taken several graduate-level pedagogy seminars, as well as the “Every Child Can” and Suzuki Book 1 courses. Andrew teaches privately in many venues throughout the Boulder/Denver area, and teaches sectionals at Fairview High School in Boulder. Additionally, he teaches master classes with the Altius Quartet throughout the United States.

Andrew plays on a 1928 Gaetano Gadda violin, on generous loan from Michael and Cathy Reaves. His bow is made by David Samuels.


Beth Wells

Beth Wells has been a member of the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra cello section for the past 27 seasons. As well, she is a member of the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra and has held positions in the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, the String Quartet Con Brio, and the String Quartet Fantastique.

Since retiring from Poudre School District in 2012 where she taught orchestra in several secondary schools, Beth is now director of the Northern Colorado Cello Choir.  She has been the chairperson for the Colorado Chapter of American String Teacher Orchestra Festival, organized the Fort Collins High School Orchestra Festival, and was on the founding committee as well as conductor for the first annual Fort Collins All City High School Honor Orchestra in 2016.  As a member of the Colorado Music Adjudication Association, Beth enjoys the opportunity to clinic and adjudicate middle and high orchestra festivals around the state of Colorado.  Beth has an active cello studio teaching private lessons to elementary through high school students.

In 2012 she began volunteer work for the Fort Collins Symphony Education Committee where she helps the public schools host guest artists of the FCSO for educational outreach programs.  Past volunteer committees include the Fort Collins Symphony Musicians’ Committee and Artistic Committee.

Beth is married to Tom Bittinger, principal bassoonist of the Fort Collins Symphony and Cheyenne Symphony. They enjoy attending the annual Telluride Film Festival, international travel, and attending performances of the finest orchestras in the country.  Spending time with their five children and two grandchildren are a special joy.


Madison Johnson

Madison earned her B.M. at the University of Northern Colorado and her M.M. at The Boston Conservatory in Viola Performance. Madison spent three years performing with the Great Falls symphony and the Cascade String Quartet in Montana, where she also maintained violin and viola studios in Great Falls, Havre, and Fort Benton, Montana. 

With the quartet Madison toured across Montana and the Northwest, performing concerts, presenting educational school shows, giving masterclasses, and collaborating with other professional artists across the state and country. 

In 2016 she returned home to establish a violin and viola studio in Fort Collins. 

Ben Koch

Ben Koch is a cellist and Fort Collins native.

As a student at Fort Collins High School, Ben studied with Dr. Gal Faganel, participating in the Northern Colorado Cello Choir, All-State Orchestra, Western States Honor Orchestra Festival, and the National High School Honors Orchestra in Louisville, KY.

Ben attended Indiana University, where he studied at the Jacobs School of Music with renowned cellist Emilio Colón and members of the Grammy-award winning Pacifica Quartet. During this time, Ben worked as a section cellist for Richmond Symphony Orchestra and other area orchestras around Indiana. Ben holds both a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Indiana University.

In the fall of 2018, Ben plans to begin a PhD program in molecular and cancer biology at Indiana University, where he will also continue his cellistic studies with Emilio Colón.

Ben is an avid reader, biker, mushroom-hunter, and pianist.



 "Of course all my music teachers helped and inspired me with my clarinet, but they also taught me the nobility of working together honestly and sincerely on something greater then myself in order to share and nurture the potential for goodness and beauty inside us all."
- Richard Stolzman, clarinetist

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