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.

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.

eric lenz, cello

Eric Lenz, D.M.A., is Associate Professor of Cello at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. 

On faculty at SIU since 2003, Lenz teaches studio cello and chamber music, in addition to courses in harmony, analysis and counterpoint. A tenured member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Lenz also serves as principal cello of the Paducah Symphony. He has performed with the Alabama, Charleston, and Missouri Symphonies, and with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra. Summer appointments have included Spoleto Festival USA and Brevard Music Center, where he served as orchestral fellow. Lenz has served on faculty at Lutheran Summer Music and the Illinois Chamber Music Festival. Around the world Lenz has performed in venues such as the Banff Centre, the Chinese Central Conservatory in Beijing and Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall. Chamber music coaches include the Juilliard, Emmerson, Guarnari, Cleveland, and Cavani quartets.

In the field of early music, Lenz has performed on baroque cello with the Cleveland Camerata and on viola da gamba with the Case Western Reserve Viol Consort. Lenz performs frequently with the Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society, an exciting local organization which sponsors visiting artists and offers scholarships to SIUC students who play string instruments.

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. 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.