Geoffrey Dean, Cello

nina gordon, cello

Based in Sofia, Bulgaria since 1992, American cellist Geoffrey Dean has emerged as one of that country's most sought-after instrumentalists. He has performed at many prestigious European music centers, including the Opera Bastille, Gasteig, Sibelius Academy, and Enescu Filharmonica, and as soloist with leading Bulgarian orchestras such as the Philharmonics of Sofia, Plovdiv, Pazardjik, Shumen, and Vidin. In 1997 he joined the world-renowned Dimov Quartet, and has also performed with the Ardenza Trio, the Sofia Quartet, and the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.

His advocacy of new and neglected repertoire has resulted in the world or national premiers in the United States and Europe of more than 170 solo and chamber works. A recognized writer on musical subjects, he has also shared some of this music through articles appearing in Strings magazine and other publications. His series of transcriptions of pieces by second-generation Bulgarian composers represents yet another facet of his personal commitment to exploring the broadest possible cross-section of the cello and ensemble literature. 

Mr. Dean is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Indiana University School of Music, where he studied with Robert Marsh and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, respectively. His studies with a number of other cellists, including David Kadarauch in San Francisco, CA and Brent Wissick in Chapel Hill, NC; William Pleeth in England and Channing Robbins in Maine; and more recently with Anatoli Krustev and Anssi Karttunen, have also had an important role in various stages of his cellistic development.

Mr. Dean is a founding music faculty member at the American University in Bulgaria and its Fine Arts Program Coordinator. He has presented demonstrations and masterclasses at universities in Greece, Turkey, and the United States, and has spent past summers as Dean of Students at the Killington Music Festival in Vermont, USA.

Nina Gordon is Associate Professor of Cello and Chamber music at Illinois Wesleyan University and former Principal Cellist with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to coming to Illinois, Nina Gordon was Principal Cellist of the Kansas City Symphony and the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and taught Cello and Chamber Music at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  Earlier Dr. Gordon also held positions with the Israel Chamber Orchestra under Rudolf Barshai and the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta; she was Associate Principal Cellist with the Florida Philharmonic, and Principal Cellist with the Colorado Music Festival in Bolder, Colorado.

Her education includes the Moscow Conservatory (Russia), the University of Tel-Aviv (Israel), and the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where she received her DMA.  Among her teachers were Natalia Shakhovskaya (Russia), Michael Haran (Israel), George Ricci and Edward Laut (USA).

Nina Gordon is the Founder and Music Director of the annual IWU Summer Music Programs which include IWU Chamber Music Festival and IWU Cello Camp.  She is also a faculty member at the Ameropa Chamber Music Festival in Prague, Czech Republic, the International Chamber Music Festival ICMC in Positano, Italy, and the International Chamber Music Academy in Kyustendil, Bulgaria for young and talented musicians.

Christa Saeger, Cello

Cellist Christa Saeger is an active orchestral musician, recitalist, and chamber musician. She recently completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in cello performance at the University of Minnesota as a Berneking Fellow. She has additional degrees from the University of Minnesota and Gustavus Adolphus College. Saeger is co-founder of the Lachen String Quartet based in Minneapolis. Her 2013 publications include the "Unknown and Rarely Performed Works for Cello by Jean Sibelius." Most recently, she was awarded the prestigious Finlandia Foundation National Grant to continue research on works for cello by Finnish composers in 2013. Saeger is currently on faculty at Morton College, Illinois Wesleyan University, The People's Music School, and the TPMS Youth Orchestras El Sistema in Chicago.