Desert Ridge Middle School Orchestra Website

Welcome to the Desert Ridge Orchestra Website! Please check this page often, as it will contain many important updates about our orchestra program!

My name is Erica Photiades, and I am originally from Detroit, Michigan. I loved visiting Albuquerque so much, I decided to move here! I have spent the last eight years teaching orchestra in Waco, Texas. Before that, I taught K-12 music in a small town in Northern Michigan, where I started a strings program. I have a Bachelors in Music Education from Michigan State University and I have a Master's in Music Education from Baylor University. I am also a certified Suzuki Violin Instructor.

I began my musical studies on the violin when I was four years old, and studied the Suzuki Method. Violin playing runs in my family-I had an ancestor who was in the court orchestra of Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria! I started teaching private lessons when I was fifteen and discovered a love of teaching that has not left me. As a middle schooler, I toured Europe, and I was a member of the Detroit Symphony Civic Youth Orchestra when I was in high school. I also attended Interlochen Arts Camp and was a member of the Michigan All-State Orchestra.

Performing has always been an important part of my life. I played in several semi-professional symphonies in Michigan and Texas. In my free time, I enjoy being outside, hiking and running. I also love to read and write and I am a cat mom to 5 great kitties. They are all very friendly, even if they insist on being fed every time I walk past their food bowl!

Here is my class schedule:

  • 1st period: Beginning Orchestra at Eisenhower Middle School
  • 2nd period: Advanced Orchestra at Eisenhower Middle School
  • 3rd period: Planning period and travel (10:13 AM-11:06AM)
  • 4th period: Advanced Orchestra at Desert Ridge Middle School
  • 5th period: Intermediate Orchestra at Desert Ridge Middle School
  • 6th period: Beginning Orchestra at Desert Ridge Middle School

The best way to contact me is by email: I will do my best to respond as soon as possible!

Important Announcements for Orchestra:

Our concert dates for 2018-2019 can be found here: Desert Ridge Orchestra Concert Dates

Please use this guide to help you enroll: SmartMusic Instructions. Make sure you have written down your password and username/email for the account.

Wednesday, January 23rd: Auditions for La Cueva Camerata Orchestra after school at La Cueva High School. Contact Rebecca Simons at to schedule an audition. This is for interested 8th grade students who will be attending La Cueva next fall.

Friday, February 1st: Payment for Hummingbird Music Camp is due. Cost is $160 and scholarships are available. INT and ADV orchestra only.

Friday, February 8th-10th, 2019: Trip to Hummingbird Music Camp. Leaving after school Friday and returning Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, February 12th: Elementary Orchestra Tour during school. ADV Orchestra only.

Wednesday, February 13th: Cluster Concert with La Cueva is at 7:00 PM at La Cueva High School. This performance is for Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras only.

Friday, March 1st: Music Performance Assessment is at the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Building. Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras only.

Tuesday, March 5th: Beginning Band and Orchestra Concert 7:00 PM at DRMS gym.

Saturday, March 30th: Beginning Orchestra Festival 12:30-3:00 PM at Volcano Vista High School. All Beginning orchestras in APS will be performing together!

Concert Uniform