USC Thornton School of Music - Bachelors of Music, Saxophone
Alum of Interlochen Arts Academy
Michelle Maestas Simonsen is an alum of international arts school Interlochen Arts Academy and the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles. She is classically trained and jazz and pop influenced. Michelle studied with great players including Bill Sears, Kim Richmond, Bob Sheppard, Jim Rötter, Jason Goldman and many others. Based in Los Angeles she produces many annual concerts and plays pop and commercial music. Her ensemble West Coast Edition (top 40) recently opened the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. Her brass band, Red Light Brass Band recently performed the 2017 & 2018 OC Fair (every day of the fair!), and has upcoming engagements around Los Angeles. She regularly performs with Saxophone DJ collaborations in the Southern California area for special events and live performances.
From a recent highlight with Eastman Winds:
"I was always encouraged to develop great sound, style and time. I gravitated to teachers for their approach to sound, so naturally you tend to adopt their gear as well. I've played on Selmer horns pretty much, well, always. I, too, have been in search of an elusive, perfect, Mark VI with an F# key, but those are usually pretty hard to find, and come with a price tag that is not for everyone. Bob Minzter shared with me that he was liking the 52nd street and suggested I give it a try. To be honest, I was a little skeptical but the horn sounded great and resonant. The 52nd street alto I have, after getting used to it, makes me rethink ever playing my old horn. New horns are emotional because you tie your sound to it, but I'm pretty much in love with it. I've been starting think I might change out some of my other horns for 52nd street models as well. I exclusively play Bob Sheppard mouthpieces from MacSax, and some of them have been customized. I also have been working with a new company Bob is a part of called Retro-Revival mouthpieces which are making some killer new stuff especially the Meyer and Otto link replicas. If you play saxophone it is hard to not take your "gear" seriously, or always be on the hunt for the next best thing be it mouthpieces, reeds, or horns."
USC Thornton School
Director of Production & Concerts & Operations for the USC Thornton School of Music. I help make it all happen.
Upcoming events can be found here.
USC Thornton School of Music
I'm proud of many of the amazing projects, pieces, and performances that happen at the USC Thornton School of Music.
I'm a past-president of one of the founding alumnae organizations that helped bolster the Alumni Association, Trojan Junior Auxiliary, founded in 1936. I'm a past board member of the Society of Trojan Women, past committee chair for the USC Women's Conference. I've also held other board positions with the Alumnae Coordinating Council, and Thornton Alumni Association.
2016-17 I served as the Communications and Social Media chair for the Alumnae Coordinating Council. I was the editor of their e-newsletter which had a reach of over 1000.
2016-17 I served on the Provisional Committee as an Active member of Junior League of Pasadena. I am the current Marketing Chair for the organization for the 2017-18, and 2018-19 season.
Through my work with Pretty in Pasadena, I also have volunteered with Five Acres, one of the oldest nonprofits in Los Angeles County, to help mentor and share skills with at risk girls in foster care.
USC Alumnae Coordinating Council
USC Alumnae Coordinating Council 2015-16 [photo on the steps of USC Doheny Library].
ACC Secretary 2015-16
Marketing & Social Media Chair Society of Trojan Women 2013-16