Lucy Dhegrae, soprano


Lucy Dhegrae is a passionate advocate of new music, with a flexible technique that fits a variety of styles. She is a core member of the new music ensemble Contemporaneous, and has performed with the Talea Ensemble, Nouveau Classical Project, Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and Le Train Bleu, among others. In New York, she has performed at venues including (le) poisson rouge, Roulette, SubCulture, and Issue Project Room. Dhegrae has sung more than thirty world premieres and has worked closely with such composers as Anthony Braxton, Unsuk Chin, Jason Eckardt, Susan Botti, and Shawn Jaeger. She has premiered several operas, including Trillium J by Braxton, Bodiless by Gabrielle Herbst, and Andy: A Popera by Heath Allen (a collaboration with Opera Philadelphia and Bearded Ladies Cabaret). Dhegrae is the executive director of Contemporaneous, and is the director of the Resonant Bodies Festival, an annual festival of new and experimental vocal music, which she founded in 2013. She is on the faculty at Bard College Conservatory's Preparatory Division, and also at Third Street Music School. She lives with her husband, composer Shawn Jaeger, in New York. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance (BM) and the Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program (MM) where she studied with Dawn Upshaw.


J Freivogle, violin

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J Freivogel is the founding and current first violinist of the Jasper String Quartet, winner of the prestigious CMA Cleveland Quartet Award and the Professional Quartet in Residence at Temple University's Center for Gifted Young Musicians. With the Quartet, J won the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the Grand Prize at the Coleman Competition, First Prize at Chamber Music Yellow Springs, and the Silver Medal at the 2008 and 2009 Fischoff Chamber Music Competitions.

J attended Oberlin College and Conservatory for Bachelor’s degrees in Violin Performance and Politics and, during his time there, won the Kauffman Chamber Music prize three times, the Presser Music Award, the Hurlbutt prize for most outstanding violinist, and the concerto competition. He received his Master’s in String Quartet Performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and an Artist’s Diploma at the Yale School of Music. His principal teachers include Marilyn McDonald, Sylvia Rosenberg, and Cho-Liang Lin for violin and James Dunham, Norman Fischer and the Tokyo String Quartet for chamber music. J is also a core member of the East Coast Chamber Orchestra (ECCO).

J is married to cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel and they live in Philadelphia, PA with their children, Leon and Evy.


Cristina Buciu, violin

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Cristina Buciu is a native of Bucharest, Romania and comes from a family of well-known musicians.  Her teachers include Sherban Lupu, Peter Zakofsky, and the Muir String Quartet.  Ms. Buciu is an alumnus of the Academy of Music in Bucharest, the University of Illinois from which she holds a Master’s degree, and a recipient of the prestigious Artist Diploma from Boston University.  She has concertized extensively with several orchestras in Romania and the U.S., including the National Radio Orchestra of Romania, the Concerto Chamber Orchestra on it’s European tour, and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.  Ms. Buciu has performed solo and chamber music recitals in her native Romania, as well as England, Italy, Germany, and major cities in the U.S.  Some of her engagements include collaborative recitals with such noted artists as Csaba Erdeliy, Sherban Lupu, Andres Diaz, and Phyllis Curtin.  Twice the winner of the National String Competition in Romania and the International Violin Competition in Stusa, Italy, Ms. Buciu is also a recipient of the Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship.  She has been featured on National Radio-Television of Romania, Yugoslavia, the Voice of America, as well as other American radio stations.  Cristina Buciu has been invited to several summer festivals, including the Gubbio Festival, the Mittenwald, Novi Sad, and Lanciano Festivals, as well as the Tanglewood Music Festival in ’96 and ’97 where she worked with the Juilliard String Quartet, Leon Fleisher, and played under the direction of Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, and Andre Previn.  She also appeared as a guest artist several times at the acclaimed International New Music Week in Bucharest.  Cristina is the former assistant concertmaster with the Syracuse Symphony, a frequent substitute with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Elgin Symphony, and is a founding member of the Mellits Consort.


Dominic Johnson, viola

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Born in California but raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dominic Johnson grew up surrounded by folk music, hippies, and trees. A brief stint as an adolescent Mariachi fiddler lead to offers of child stardom, but only resulted in an appearance on NPR and a high school assembly. After studying music performance at Rice University, he toured domestically and in Europe playing viola for a rock band, rachel’s, (yes with a lower-case 'r' AND an apostrophe) a progenitor of what some now call “indie-classical” music. 

From 2005-15 Dominic was the co-founder, executive director, and principal violist of the New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago. Further career highlights include a sold-out performance with Arcos Orchestra at the Vienna Konzerthaus, rocking New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom opening for PJ Harvey, jamming with DJs for Chicago Symphony and Kennedy Center receptions, and sharing the stage with Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, DJ Spooky, Lupe Fiasco, and the lovely Scots in Belle and Sebastian. Recently he completed a one week residency for the Racine Symphony which included a concerto performance of Hindemith’s Trauermusik, and in April of 2016 he appeared solo on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center performing his original score for Beats, the Bauhaus, and the Birth of Abstract Film. His classical bonafides also include work in Miami with the Miami Symphony and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra, and in St. Louis with the Gesher Music Festival.

Sara Sitzer, cello


Sara Sitzer, founding Artistic Director of the Gesher Music Festival, leads a varied life as an orchestral, chamber, and solo cellist, as well as administrator and music writer. After completing a 3 year fellowship with the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, Ms. Sitzer moved to the Chicago area, where she joined Chicago Q Ensemble, an innovative string ensemble committed to challenging the traditional role of the performer, empowering the traditional role of the listener, and using the string trio medium as a springboard towards infinite creativity. With Chicago Q, she has recorded two albums, premiered pieces by many of the city’s emerging composers, given a TEDx presentation, and been presented by organizations including the Chicago Loop Alliance, Frequency Series, (Un)Familiar Music Series, Chicago Home Theater Festival, City of Chicago, and American Music Project. Ms. Sitzer is a member of the Elgin Symphony and Firebird Chamber Orchestra (Miami, FL), and regularly performs with the Milwaukee Symphony, as well as Chicago ensembles Ensemble Dal Niente, Picosa, New Millennium Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, and Ars Viva Symphony. Additionally, she travels to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia each summer to perform and to serve as cello and chamber music faculty at the Wintergreen Summer Music Festival. Other festivals she has attended include Tanglewood Music Center, Pacific Music Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. In 2014, she co-founded Chamber Music on the Fox, a chamber music series devoted to serving the Elgin (IL) and Fox Valley regions. As a writer, she has been published in the St. Louis Beacon and NewMusicBox (the blog of New Music USA), and has also written for Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for Performing Arts. Ms. Sitzer holds a Master of Music Degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she attended on a Collins Fellowship. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University as a Trustee Scholar. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband Richard and her dog Josie, who serves as the Gesher Music Festival’s unofficial mascot.


Dana Hotle, clarinet

Dana Hotle, clarinet, can be heard performing in both her home state of Missouri and in Illinois.  She is currently Principal clarinet with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and is a founding member and Artistic Director of Chamber Project Saint Louis. Mrs. Hotle is a former member of The Equinox Chamber players and the Cedar Rapids Symphony. She has performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia da Camera, St. Louis Opera Theater, Webster Symphony Orchestra and the New World Symphony.  Mrs. Hotle holds a bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a Masters from the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with David Krakauer. Dana is a faculty member of the Community Music School of Webster University.  She lives in South St. Louis with her husband Chip, son Elliot and dog Betty. 


Daniel Pesca, piano

Described as a “lively young pianist” by The New York Times, Daniel Pesca has performed at the Kennedy Center, Miller Theater and the Chicago Cultural Center. Recently, Daniel has been a guest concerto soloist with the Slee Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the League of Composers, the Eastman BroadBand, and Musica Nova. In April 2013, he performed the Carter Double Concerto at Zankel Hall. He spent several summers at the Aspen Music Festival as an orchestral piano fellow and pianist of the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Daniel’s work as pianist and harpsichordist can be heard on CDs from Urtext Classics and Block M Records. Daniel holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music and has previously taught piano literature at Eastman and at Syracuse University. In September, he joins the faculty of the University of Chicago as Director of Chamber Music and Artist-in-Residence in contemporary piano. In Spring 2017, he will be a guest professor of composition at Ithaca College.

Previous Gesher Artists 

Karen Kim, violin

Grammy Award-winning violinist Karen Kim is widely hailed for her sensitive musicianship and passionate commitment to chamber and contemporary music. She has performed extensively throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, appearing in such venues and concert series as Carnegie Hall's Zankel and Weill Recital Halls, Lincoln Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York; the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society and Library of Congress in Washington, DC; the Celebrity Series of Boston; the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; the San Miguel de Allende Chamber Music Festival in Mexico; the Vienna Musikverein; London’s Wigmore Hall; the Musée d'Orsay in Paris; the Seoul Arts Center; and Angel Place in Sydney. Her recordings as a founding member of the Parker Quartet from 2002 to 2012 include the complete string quartets of György Ligeti, which received the Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance in 2011. With the Parker Quartet, Karen Kim also received the Grand Prize and Mozart Prize at the 2005 Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition. Esteemed for her versatility across a broad spectrum of musical idioms and artistic disciplines, Karen Kim has collaborated with artists ranging from Kim Kashkashian, Paul Katz, Roger Tapping, Jörg Widmann, and Shai Wosner to Questlove & The Roots and the James Sewell Ballet. She frequently performs with such groups as the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble, NOVUS NY, and Chameleon Arts Ensemble. She is also a devoted advocate of the music of our time, and has premiered works by Lera Auerbach, Wang Jie, Jeremy Gill, Patrick Castillo, Conrad Wilson, Craig Woodward, and others. A native of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Karen Kim received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in violin performance and her master’s degree in chamber music from the New England Conservatory, where she studied with Donald Weilerstein; she also studied jazz violin with vocalist Dominique Eade.

Eva Kozma, violin

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Eva Kozma began violin lessons at the age of seven in her home of Targu Mures, Romania. Kozma won Second Prize in 1993 and Third Prize in 1994 in the Romanian National Competition. Kozma studied at Gheorghe Dima Music Acad­emy, and later at McGill University. She served as Concertmaster of the McGill University Orches­tra from 2001 to 2003, and won first place in the university concerto competition in 2003. She received a Fellowship to the Tanglewood Music Center and performed with the New World Sym­phony during the 2003-04 season. Kozma was appointed Assistant Principal Second Violin with the St. Louis Symphony in September 2004. She has performed regularly in the Pulitzer Arts Foundation chamber series, curated by David Robertson. Pulitzer concert highlights include George Crumb’s Black Angels in 2007, and Bartók’s Solo Sonata in 2008. Kozma has performed many chamber con­certs under the auspices of the Symphony’s Com­munity Programs, and she has played in schools throughout the St. Louis area.

Peter Myers, cello

Praised for the warmth of his sound and range of color, American cellist Peter Myers (b. 1985, St. Louis) is internationally known as a chamber musician, and since 2017 has held the position of Assistant Principal Cellist with the San Francisco Opera.  A founding member of the Saguaro Piano Trio, which won first prize in the 2009 International Chamber Music Competition Hamburg, as well as SAKURA, a unique and innovative quintet of cellos (both currently Young-Ensembles-in-Residence with the Da Camera Society, Los Angeles), Mr. Myers has appeared at the Marlboro, La Jolla, and Mozaic festivals, on tour with Musicians from Marlboro, and abroad in Germany, Italy, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Mongolia, Laos, and Pakistan.  He has also performed as guest principal cellist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.  His mentors have included Ronald Leonard at the Colburn Conservatory and Ralph Kirshbaum at the University of Southern California.  Peter lives in San Francisco and plays an 1876 cello by Claude-Augustin Miremont.