Andrew Steffen

Section Viola

In addition to performing with Orchestra Iowa, Andrew Steffen is Director of Orchestras at McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids, IA where he directs the McKinley 6th, 7th, and 8th grade orchestras and the McKinley Chamber Orchestra. He is also technical director for stage events at McKinley. Beyond McKinley, he is the director of the Cedar Rapids Schools’ Middle School Orchestra Professional Learning Community, webmaster for the Iowa String Teacher’s Association (ISTA), and festival chair for the ISTA Middle School Honor Orchestra. He has previously played with the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, the Dubuque Symphony, and for area social, holiday and ceremonial events.


Cedar Rapids, IA

Year Joined Orchestra Iowa



MME – VanderCook College of Music, 2014
BME – University of Northern Iowa, 2009

Dr. Julia Bullard and David Eccles

Favorite Symphonic Piece:

My favorite piece is actually not symphonic; it is a work for strings and piano by Ernest Bloch – his Concerto Grosso No. 1 for Strings and Piano. This is a piece that I cannot ever begin describe what it means to me. Oddly, I do not have any significant memories or life events associated with this piece. It is simply a piece that, for whatever reason, when listening to

Favorite Memory With Orchestra Iowa:

I will always remember playing Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony with Orchestra Iowa in May of 2014. I was first exposed to this piece while in High School with our All-State Orchestra. We only played the 4th movement at that time, but, through the rehearsals I gained an appreciation. My experience there set off a series of events changing my life goals away from wanting to be a Meteorologist and instead toward wanting to be a musician. I never thought I would get an opportunity to play the piece again but have always wanted to!

How did you start playing your instrument?

I started playing Violin in 3rd grade because we were given a few lessons during school. I enjoyed it and asked my parents if I could continue with lessons. They found some way to make it work! Eventually, in 7th grade, I switched to Viola as there were no Violists in my Orchestra! Since then I have identified as a Violist and have loved it. I still love to play Violin, though!

If you weren’t a professional musician, what career would you have?

If I were not a professional musician I would likely be a meteorologist. Growing up I was fascinated by weather and I spent an unusually large amount of time watching it on the TV. I also loved advanced math and science making it a good profession for me! I would have seen myself working with the National Weather Service or in another non-public area. I would not make a good TV weatherman!