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Jon Dessen
Preludio Orchestra Director; Assistant Director, Chicago Suzuki Institute, Cello Choir
At MIC for 8 years 10 months

Preludio Orchestra
Cello Choir 

Available For

MM, Orchestral Conducting: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BM, Cello Performance: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BME, Instrumental Music Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Basic Teaching Philosophy or Special Music Interests/Specialties

When working with young musicians, I believe it is my job to introduce them to the great composers and the large canon of repertoire that classical music offers. The idea that I try to convey to the students is to play the music, not the notes.  

Through hard work and practice, my goal is to have the students enjoy making great music and to have fun while doing so.

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Sinfonia Conductor, Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra (2020-present)

JAM Orchestra, Artistic Director (2018-present)

Chicago Suzuki Institute, Asst. Director (2017-present)

Cello/Conducting Faculty (2011-present)

Asst. Orchestra Director, Glenbrook North & South High Schools (2013-present)

Cello Section, Heartland Festival Orchestra (2010-present)

Most memorable musical moment?
What does music mean to you?
What do you love about playing your instrument?

Most memorable musical moment:
My first symphony orchestra rehearsal as a freshman in high school - hearing the full power of the orchestra on the downbeat of Wagner's Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg made me realize that I wanted to spend my life in music.

What does music mean to me:
Identity, self-expression, creativity, challenges, comfort.   Music means all of these things to me, but the most important is that no matter how many times you play or study a piece, there is always more to discover, and what you discover changes as you get older.

What do I love about playing cello and conducting:
For conducting, it's the total sum of music making, incorporating theory, history, interpretation, melody, harmony, and working with wonderful musicians. For cello, it's the timbre and resonance of the cello, and how it's the closest instrument to the human voice in terms of range.

Anything else we should know?

I spend a lot of my free time as a music director for musical theatre productions around Chicago and the suburbs. I am a huge advocate for musical theatre performances, studying music theatre history, and for using the original orchestrations of works.