Astral Mixtape is a multifaceted band of LA-based musicians who blend classical instrumental virtuosity with the sounds of their generation. They collaboratively create and perform original compositions and arrangements using a unique line-up of two violins, cello, piano, synthesizer, and electronics. Their music combines the spectacle of pop, the spontaneity of jazz, and the experimentation of contemporary music.
The band enjoys sharing their music in a wide array of venues, including theaters, clubs, wine bars, parks, meditation centers, and more. Past engagements include performances at the Banff Centre’s Martha Greenham Theater (Banff, Alberta), the Eagles Theater (Wabasha, Indiana), The 1905 (Portland, Oregon), and The Mint (Los Angeles, CA). This summer, they will perform as resident artists of both the Meadowlark Music Festival and Benefic Chamber Music Camp at Ball State University. They will also open for Time For Three as part of the Vancouver Symphony’s USA Music and Arts Festival.
Concert presenters in their own right, Astral Mixtape continually reimagine the definitions and connotations of a ‘classical’ concert. The group uses bold lighting, projections, staging, and sound design to create immersive, multimedia experiences. In these productions, Astral Mixtape has collaborated with musicians ranging from folk singers to electronic producers, all the while weaving these acts into one overarching, coherent musical tapestry. Astral Mixtape’s long standing partnership with the Art of Living Foundation has given them the opportunity to host these events in one of the most unique and beautiful venues in Los Angeles.
As a collaborator, Astral Mixtape has also scored soundtracks for several short films. Many of these films – such as Leaving the Factory, Broken Layers, and Ink – have won prizes at Cannes and BAFTA film festivals. Astral Mixtape has joined forces with filmmakers, visual artists, and electronic producers to create music videos and animations. In August of 2021, they released a visual album titled Astral Plains, produced in collaboration with the Santa Monica College Film Department and support from the Banff Centre.
Finding ways to support their community has been essential to the band since its conception in 2020. Through partnerships with Salastina and Project: Music Heals Us, Astral Mixtape has performed virtually each week for hundreds of patients in local hospitals for almost three years.
In 2022, Astral Mixtape began presenting educational programs to arts programs and universities including Idyllwild Arts Academy, University of Southern California, Pasadena City College, and Santa Monica College. They are sharing how one can use the tools of a classical music education to create a musical project that is both personal and original.
Astral Mixtape currently partners with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for fiscal receivership. Astral Mixtape is a winner of the 2023 Astral Artists National Competition.
Astral Mixtape is:
Misha Vayman is a professional violinist, educator, and dog lover. He has performed in a wide variety of contexts, from opening for Dorian Electra to soloing with various orchestras in the United States, Mexico, Russia, and China. Animals have been known to enjoy his playing, as do some people. In fact, he has twice won the Grand Prize in the international ENKOR Competition, once in the Solo division, and once in the Chamber Music division. The latter he accomplished as part of the greatest piano trio in the world, the Benefic Piano Trio.
With his genre hopping band Astral Mixtape, Misha has been featured at a variety of venues across Los Angeles and at multiple international music festivals. Mixtape’s most recent release is an hour long music video titled “Astral Plains”, a phantasmagoric and smoky journey through different plains of consciousness.
Misha is part of Delirium Musicum, a chamber orchestra known to bend time and space to their will with no regard for anyone's safety. He is prominently featured in many rehearsal outtakes, “keeping it light”.
Misha is a recent graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music. Before that, he attended the Colburn Conservatory, and the Cleveland Institute of Music. A lot of practice was done at all three, and now he’s good, and doesn’t need to practice at all.
Juan-Salvador Carrasco is the cellist and co-founder of Astral Mixtape. The group collaboratively composes and performs original works that draw inspiration from multiple musical genres. Juan-Salvador has performed as a soloist with orchestra in Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Broad Stage, and Auditorio Blas Galindo (Mexico City). He has performed chamber music with Itzhak Perlman, Phil Setzer (Emerson Quartet), Anthony McGill (NY Phil principal clarinetist), and Robert Chen (CSO concertmaster). His orchestral experience includes performances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Delirium Musicum, and the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra. Juan-Salvador was awarded First Prize at USC Thornton’s 2019 Solo Bach Competition. He has also competed as a semi-finalist in the Nationwide Sphinx Competition. Juan-Salvador has attended summer festivals such as the Heifetz Institute Chamber Music Seminar, PyeongChang Music Festival, Bowdoin Music Festival, and the Perlman Music Program. He has also performed as a member of the Heifetz Ensemble in Residence (HEIR). Juan-Salvador's primary cello teachers were Ralph Kirshbaum (USC’s Thornton School of Music, M.M. and G.C.), Hans Jorgen Jensen (Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, B.M.), Ron Leonard (Colburn Academy), and Eleonore Schoenfeld.
Nathan Ben-Yehuda has been recognized as an emerging musician of impassioned energy and integrity. He has been a prize winner at the Yamaha Young Performing Artist award and the Seattle International Piano Competition, among many others.
He has worked closely with such composers as George Lewis, Kaija Saariaho, Oliver Knussen and Thomas Ades. Nathan has held a fellowship at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he performed in a variety of new music and chamber music groups, and took part in a complete performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Catalogue d’Oiseaux alongside pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, and performed Nancarrow Studies on two pianos with composer/pianist Thomas Adès.
He has been featured in live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 “In Tune” as well as on WMHT Radio. He has appeared on Musiqu3 TV in Beligium as a competitor in the 2021 Queen Elisabeth competition. He recently was one of two pianists invited to the Taos School of Music, directed by Robert McDonald, and perform as part of their young artist chamber music series.
He is also the pianist for the Victory Players, a recently formed new music ensemble based in Holyoke, MA. Having earned degrees from Juilliard and Royal Academy of Music in London, he is now faculty at Cal Lutheran University.
Michael Siess enjoys a dynamic career as a professional violinist, having performed in eclectic venues across the world as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician. He was appointed to the first violin section of the Pacific Symphony in the fall of 2022 while also regularly appearing with ensembles such as Delirium Musicum and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. An active recording artist, Michael has played on numerous Hollywood soundtracks and albums. Recent highlights have included work on Avatar 2 and The Orville as well as upcoming records with Delirum Musicum and The String Theory.
Beginning his musical studies in Portland, OR, Michael holds degrees from the Cleveland Institute of Music and USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Margaret Batjer, William Preucil, and Itzhak Perlman. Over the summers he has performed at a variety of festivals including the Perlman Music Program, Aspen Music Festival, the Pacific Music Festival and the Banff Centre’s Evolution: Classical.
Michael is a founding member of the genre-bending band, Astral Mixtape. Their original music and arrangements can be heard in numerous film soundtracks, animated shorts, music videos, electronic productions, and in live venues across the West Coast. Astral Mixtape’s debut visual album, “Astral Plains” is now available online.