Musicians

Violins

Danielle Belton – has been playing violin since she was 8 years old. She graduated in 2012 from Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School in Washington DC, where she was music major and member of an award winning string ensemble. In 2018, Danielle graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. She began her college study as an Ethno-musicologist major at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana where she served as Concertmaster of the Earlham Symphony Orchestra. She later transferred to Temple University where she could explore more music performance options and played violin in the Temple University Symphony Orchestra. In Philadelphia, she began to work with the Philadelphia String Project and discovered her passion for teaching music to young people. She then changed her major to Music Education and returned home to DC so she could continue to teach while attending college. Today, Danielle serves as a musician and soloist with the Wesley UMC Choir and Combo in Chevy Chase. She also has a music studio, Da Capo Music where she teaches both violin and piano to youth in DC. Although she is new to Tango, Danielle enjoys learning new musical styles and being a member of DCTO.

Mengtan Xu – started playing violin at six. After a music competition in middle school, she joined a youth chamber music orchestra and found herself enjoy playing with other people much more than by herself. Mengtan brought her instrument with her from Beijing in 2013 when she moved to Boston to study. Since relocating to Washington, DC, Mengtan has been playing in several quartets. She learned about the Orchestra from Ed Fizzle, thus beginning her tango obsession. In 2017, during the Orchestra’s off-season, she began learning to dance tango.

Cellos

Maxfield Wollam-Fisher – Maxfield holds performance degrees from Indiana University and the University of Wisconsin. He began playing and dancing Argentine tango in 2010 and organized the Mad City Live Tango Festival in 2014. The Madison, Wisconsin event features instructors Homer and Cristina Ladas and live music with Cuarteto Tanguero at every dance workshop. Maxfield has also directed the Tanguero Workshop for tango musicians in Indiana. In DC, Maxfield leads the professional tango quartet Da Capo Tango Ensemble. Maxfield works to promote collaboration between artists across the disciplines of tango in order to enhance the collective knowledge of tango music and deepen our connections with each other and the global community.

Edward Fizdale – Born in California, Ed spent most of his life in San Francisco. He started playing cello as a child and then took a short break of 55 years. He joined in 2014 and is now playing more seriously than ever. Ed is also a member of the Dupont Circle Chamber Orchestra and a string quartet. Playing the cello again has changed his life.

Bandoneon

Photo Credit: Jay Beaven

William Hurley – Having grown up surrounded by jazz music, Will finds parallels between South American tango and North American jazz. An avid tango dancer and inspired by the master bandoneon players of Osvaldo Pugliese’s orchestra, Will bought a bandoneon in 2006 and has been studying the instrument ever since. Will’s bandoneon studies have taken him to Montevideo, where he studied with Ricardo Matteo and Roberto Cardozo of the Orquesta Filarmónica Montevideo and Lima, Peru, where he took instruction from Héctor López. Stateside, Will studied with Daniel Díaz of the Tango Camerata and Emmanuel Trifilio and from American bandoneon players Korey Ireland and Ben Bogart. Will has also attended the Reed College Tango Workshop.

Thomas Kenney – By day Thomas is a licensed engineer and principal in a building science consulting firm and by night a tango aficionado. After several years of tango dancing, he was drawn by the voice of the bandoneon to take up the instrument. Thomas studied music theory and bandoneon under Ben Bogart and in the summer institutes at the Tanguero Workshop and Reed College.

Fernando Roldan – Fernando Roldan was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. His parents instilled in him an appreciation for folk music and tango, in particular for the music of Juan D’arienzo, Troilo and their vocalists. Fernando also grew up listening to both great tango orchestras featured on radio programs and listening to the “milonga” stories from relatives living in barrios porteños de Buenos Aires. After receiving fundamental piano and guitar training in BA, Fernando later moved to the United States and took master classes with Julio “Coco “ Sosa, a truly gifted guitar player. Julio took him to an Argentinean festival where Fernando heard a bandoneon up close for the first time. Thanks to this unique experience of listening to a very talented musician at a close range, he found himself inspired to pursue investigations of its mysterious breathing. Shortly after this encounter, he acquired a double A from a retired “tipica” player to continue music studies with a talented tango instrumentalist. DCTO gave Fernando the chance to join their bandoneon line in 2019. It’s a unique opportunity to share his passion with seasoned musicians.

Heyni Solera

Flute

Kristen Dion Lemley – began dancing tango in 2010 and has traveled to many dance festivals and workshops across the country to study and enjoy the art of social tango. In 2013, she traveled to Buenos Aires and spent three weeks dancing at milongas for an immersive experience of Argentine tango culture. When she moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 2015, she joined La Orquesta Fusion Tango as a flutist to study and enjoy the art of playing highly danceable tango music. In 2016, she auditioned in the Stowe Tango Music Festival and attended Tango for Musicians at Reed College. She strives to share her love of tango culture as an empowering environment of expression, connection and community building.

Piano

Valerie A. Higgs – A native of South Jersey, Valerie has musically directed, conducted and accompanied theater productions in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, South Jersey and the Washington, DC area. She was nominated for a Washington Area Theatre Community Honors (WATCH) award for “Outstanding Musical Direction” for Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of Jekyll and Hyde in 2011. She also accompanies high school students at local and state competitions, such as the Young Artists Competition of Gaithersburg. Valerie has been the pianist since 2014 and performed at the Tanguero Workshop in Indiana, which brings top tango musicians together with students from around the world, in 2017.

Bass

Walter Heber – started playing bass in high school jazz big bands in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Statistics from the University of Western Ontario prior to moving to the US in 1999. Since then, Walter has played with numerous groups throughout the metropolitan Washington area, in various styles, including jazz, blues, R&B, gospel and rock. Since 2013, Walter has served as the bassist supporting the vocal choir at Wesley United Methodist Church in Washington, DC. He also plays in the house band that hosts monthly jazz jam at the Judges Bench pub in Ellicott City, Maryland. He joined the Orchestra in 2018.

Guitar

Yulia Goldfarb – came to the Orchestra through a lifelong love of dance starting with ballet, which she studied from the age of 11 through college. She took up salsa as a way to practice spoken Spanish; useful in her day job as a pediatrician. She discovered tango in 2001, taking classes with Leon Harris, Carina Losano and Murat Erdemsel. Drawn to tango music and lyrics, she studied the genre with vocal instructor Claudia Gargiulo for 5 years. Yulia only admits to dabbling in the guitar before joining the Orchestra in 2013 and credit Emmanuel Trifilio and former Orchestra guitarist Bob Lamb for her progress. Yulia has also done dance demonstrations with the Orchestra at the Takoma Park Folk Festival every year since 2015.

Jonathan Fernandes – is a classically trained guitarist, with interests in jazz, bossa nova and tango. He took lessons in guitar performance and theory in college and was considering becoming a professional musician until his fondness for mathematics took over his life. Now a professional mathematician, Jonathan is a solo guitarist and accompanist with different groups in the Washington DC area.


Vocals

Tim Bugh – comes to tango through singing and dancing. A classically trained vocalist, Tim began singing in church choir when he was 13 and was already performing square dancing at age 5. Competing in solo, ensemble and acappella vocal contests, Tim went on to perform lead roles in musicals in community and scholastic theaters, from Fiddler on the Roof to Godspell, to South Pacific. Tim studied jazz vocals at the California Jazz Conservatory and currently training with Claudia Gargiulo. Having danced Argentine tango for over 20 years, Tim began performing and teaching in 1998, though his current passion is singing. Tim is very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Orchestra, blessed by benefits of this community of fellow professional and volunteer music lovers.

All photos by Mike Carver Pics unless otherwise noted.