Cristian Neacsu, violinist and conductor, is chair of the music department at Walla Walla University, a position he has held since 2018. He previously taught at Burman University where he was assistant professor of music and the orchestra director, a position he had held since 2013. He was born and raised in Romania, where he started violin lessons at age seven. He came to the United States in 2005 to study music at Andrews University, where he won the AU Young Artist Competition in 2005 and 2007 and completed a B.Mus. in 2008. He subsequently completed an M.Mus. at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2010, and a D.M.A. at the University of Illinois in 2013.
Neacsu has collaborated with and been mentored by prominent artists such as Stefan Milenkovich, Piotr Milewski, Herbert Blomstedt, Sherban Lupu, Berick Yehonatan, Carla Trynchuk, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Guillaume Tardif, Claudio Gonzales, Corina Bololoi, and Octavian Ratiu among others, as well as noted groups such as the Jupiter and Pacifica string quartets.
He plays frequently in solo recitals and chamber music programs and as a soloist with orchestras. His solo performances have included concertos by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Sibelius, and Wieniawski, as well as many other works from a wide range of genres and styles.
As an orchestra director, Neacsu continually strives to refine the ensemble and challenge the musicians with a variety of repertoire from the Baroque to contemporary eras. During his tenure at Burman, the orchestra presented numerous local performances and toured in Canada.
While at Burman, he adjudicated several concerto competitions and festivals locally and for the Strings Division at MacEwan University in Edmonton and served as Vice-President for the Alberta String Association.
While pursuing postgraduate studies at the University of Illinois, Neacsu was a Teaching Assistant for three consecutive years. He taught violin lessons to undergraduate and graduate music majors and non-major students and participated in the orchestral conducting class.
His collaborations have included performances with the renowned Faculty at Krannert Center and the Allerton Festival. As a member of the New Music Ensemble he performed an extensive amount of music by established contemporary composers such as Sofia Gubaidulina, Augusta Read Thomas, and Charles Wuorinen, among others. He pursued a minor in Baroque performance practice and performed on a baroque violin for the Early Music Concerts.
During his graduate years at University of Cincinnati, Neacsu minored in Orchestral Conducting under the tutelage of Mark Gibson and Annunziata Tomaro and was the assistant concertmaster for UCCM Philharmonia Orchestra, the premiere ensemble at the school.
Sources: "Cristian Neacsu is CUC's Newest Professor," CUC (Canadian University College, now Burman University) President's Page, April 16, 2013; Biographical Sketch at www.cristian-neacsu.com.