Meet Our Judges 2024
Dr. Eric Nestler
Eric Nestler has been on the faculty of the University of North Texas College of Music since 1992 and is currently a University Distinguished Teaching Professor
of Music. Dr. Nestler presented his New York debut recital at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in May 2003.
Internationally, Nestler has performed solo recitals in
Cape Town and Stellenbosch, South Africa and has traveled to Europe where he performed several solo recitals including performances at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, the Prague Conservatory, the Janacek Academy in Brno, the
Czech Republic, and Castlefranco, Veneto, Italy. He has also performed extensively in Asia including Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tianjin,
China. In November 2004, Nestler was a featured artist at the Asian Saxophone Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.
He is the author of several articles published in the Saxophone Symposium. In 2009, Nestler was diagnosed with embouchure dystonia and was unable to
perform for many years. After receiving rehabilitation at the UNT Health Science Center, Nestler relearned to play the saxophone. Dr. Nestler earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, Summa Cum Laude, from Susquehanna University where he was a student of Donald Beckie. Dr. Nestler has since received both the Master of Music degree in Woodwind Instruments, with High Distinction, and the Doctor of Music Literature and
Performance degree in Saxophone, Clarinet, and Bassoon, with High Distinction, from the Indiana University School of Music (Bloomington, IN). He studied with Eugene Rousseau (saxophone), James Campbell (clarinet) and Sidney Rosenberg (bassoon).
Dr. Johnny Salinas
Dr. Johnny Salinas is Visiting Assistant Professor of Saxophone at the Oklahoma State University Greenwood School of Music in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He teaches applied saxophone, chamber music, introduction to music, saxophone literature and pedagogy, and single reed techniques.
Dr. Salinas has performed throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has played with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and Houston Ballet. As a soloist, he has performed at Shanghai Symphony Hall, Jinan Grand Theatre, the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre, and Lila Cockrell Theatre. He has also appeared live on NPR’s “The Front Row.”
Dr. Salinas is a founding member of the award-winning Amethyst Saxophone Quartet. He also performs with the OSU Faculty Woodwind Quintet Bluestem Blaze and Composite Brass, a duo dedicated to commissioning new works for trumpet and saxophone.
Dr. Salinas earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Northwestern University under the instruction of Dr. Frederick L. Hemke. He is a Légère Endorsing Artist and Yamaha Performing Artist and performs exclusively on Légère Reeds and Yamaha Professional Saxophones.
Dr. Christopher Crevinston
Hailed as “one of the world’s top saxophone artists” (Audiophile Audition) with “the personality and fingers of a first- rate soloist” (American Record Guide), “subtle, perceptive phrasing, and flawless control of vibrato” (Fanfare Magazine), Yamaha Artist Christopher Creviston has been featured in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to Paisley Park and the Apollo Theater.
As soloist and with the Capitol Quartet, Creviston has been showcased with outstanding ensembles across the U.S., including the National Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and many others. As a recitalist and clinician, he concertizes globally with the Capitol Quartet, and in the Creviston Duo with pianist Hannah Creviston.
Creviston’s recent releases include the premiere recordings of the Soprano Saxophone Concerto by Pulitzer Prize Finalist Carter Pann (Jeffrey Meyer conducting the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra), and the Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Band by Pulitzer Prize Winner William Bolcom (Gary Hill conducting the Arizona State University Wind Orchestra).
The Creviston Duo’s recordings include the CDs Phoenix Rising and Breaking, presenting works specifically commissioned (or co-commissioned) by the duo from recognized composers Stacy Garrop, Carter Pann, John Anthony Lennon, Mark Lanz Weiser, Katherine Hoover, John Fitz Rogers and Eric Mandat. These and several other of Creviston’s recordings can be found on Spotify and other digital media.
Now on the faculty at Arizona State University, Professor Creviston has held positions at the Crane School of Music (SUNY Potsdam), the Greenwich House of Arts (NYC), the University of Windsor (Canada), and the University of Michigan, and serves on the faculty of the Great Plains Saxophone Workshop. His students have garnered top honors at some of the world's most prestigious competitions, including the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, the American Prize, the MTNA National Competition, the Coltman Chamber Music Competition, and many others.
Creviston is a Yamaha Artist and a Past President of the North American Saxophone Alliance.
Dr. Kendra Wheeler
Innovative and passionate, Dr. Kendra Wheeler has established herself as a well-known
performer, teacher, and scholar. She actively promotes, advocates, and performs a new
repertoire, as seen in her modern and diverse programming and commissioning. Composer
Ziv Slama states: “Kendra's performance combines technical ability from the highest levels
of saxophone playing and unique levels of expression and interpretation.”
Wheeler has built and maintained a national and international profile as an artist, scholar, and
educator. She has appeared at major venues and festivals across North America, South
America, and Europe, including Chicago Symphony Center (Chicago, IL), Ordway Center
for Performing Arts (St. Paul, MN), Capitol Theatre (Yakima, WA), Muzička akademija u
Zagrebu (Croatia), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM (Mexico City,
Mexico), and more. Other appearances include solo recitals, masterclasses, and guest artist
residencies at institutions across the United States and Europe, including Virginia Tech, the
University of the Republic of Uruguay, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, the University of
California Los Angeles, among others.
Moreover, International and nationally renowned organizations and competitions like the
Concert Artist Guild (CAG), Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition (VEA), DOWNBEAT
Magazine, and Pan-American International Saxophone Competition have recognized
Wheeler’s work. Wheeler is an active adjudicator for regional, state, and national solo and
ensemble competitions, honor bands, and saxophone competitions.
As an advocate for innovation through performance, Dr. Wheeler embraces new mediums
for the saxophone through interdisciplinary collaborations and chamber music. Since 2018,
she has been a member of Alecto Duo, along with Kakia Gkoudina (composer, electronics,
visuals). In addition, she is in a contemporary saxophone duo that explores multimedia and
modern works with Dr. Kyle Hutchins. Dr. Wheeler is also an alto saxophonist in the
Medusa Saxophone Quartet, whose mission is to support young, historically excluded
saxophonists and composers.
Dr. Wheeler serves as an Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Central Washington
University. Dr. Wheeler earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota
under the study of Eugene Rousseau. She subsequently received a Master of Music from the
University of Minnesota, studying with Preston Duncan. She completed her Doctor of
Musical Arts in saxophone performance at Michigan State University under Joseph Lulloff.
Kendra is an Eastman Artist, playing the EAS 850 Rue Saint Georges, and a Légère Reeds,
Silverstein Works, and Key Leaves performing artist.
Dr. Bob Eason
Hailed by Fanfare magazine for his “exceptional feel for elegance, wit… and tonal beauty,” Dr. Bob Eason is a saxophonist and educator. Eason is Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX. Eason has held previous academic appointments on the faculties of Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, Murray State University in Murray, KY, and Ball State University in Muncie, IN.
Eason maintains an active performance schedule throughout the United States, and has performed in Latin America, South America, and Asia as a guest artist at the invitation of international festivals. Recent guest artist residencies include the 2020 Rio Winds Festival (Rio de Janeiro), the 2019 XVIII Encuentro Universitario Internacional de Saxofón México (Mexico City), and the 2018 SaxoBang Festival (Taipei). In December of 2022, Eason performed Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and William Grant Still’s Miss Sally’s Party with the Houston Symphony.
Eason is the soprano saxophonist and a founding member of the Kenari Quartet, an ensemble that has garnered acclaim through engaging performances, festival and educational residencies, and commissioning projects. The Kenari Quartet is the first ensemble of its kind to have appeared on many prestigious concert series including Chamber Music Northwest, the Grand Tetons Music Festival, String Theory at the Hunter, and Chamber Music Tulsa. For their ten-year history of educational outreach work, the Kenari Quartet was named the 2023 recipient of the Ann Divine Educator Award and Arts Residency.
In collaboration with the Naxos music label, the Kenari Quartet released the album French Saxophone Quartets, which contains many of the saxophone quartet’s most important compositions.
A native of Houston, TX, Eason founded the Young Saxophonist’s Institute and continues to teach summer camps in the Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth areas for middle school and high school saxophonists.
Dr. Sarah Roberts
With an extremely diverse background in classical, jazz, and popular music; Roberts has performed with a gamut of ensembles ranging from traditional saxophone quartets, to new music groups, to rock bands, to jazz groups and all points in between. In February 2017, Roberts formed a classical trio titled Essimar, that is dedicated to promoting new music with unusual instrumentation. In addition, she has been a saxophonist for various orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New World Symphony, the Plano Symphony, Irving Symphony, Texarkana Symphony, Shreveport Symphony, and San Angelo Symphony; has been a substitute saxophonist with the Dallas Wind Symphony, the Lonestar Wind Orchestra, and Allen Philharmonic Winds; and is a member of Kris Berg’s Metroplexity Big Band. Through her performances and recordings with the Metroplexity Big Band she has shared the stage with such musicians as Phil Woods, Tom Bones Malone, Wayne Bergeron, Kirk Whalum, Chris Vadala, and Clay Jenkins. Roberts has also performed for such acts as The O’Jays, Johnny Mathis, and The Temptations. In addition, she has presented recitals and lectures throughout the United States, Europe, and China.
Currently, Roberts is an Associate Professor of music in saxophone and jazz studies at The University of Texas at Tyler. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Roberts is serving as the Interim Director for the School of Performing Arts. Roberts completed her doctorate of musical arts degree in saxophone performance from the University of North Texas in August 2015. She also holds dual master of music degrees in saxophone performance and jazz studies from the University of North Texas and dual undergraduate degrees in saxophone performance and jazz studies from the University of Michigan. Roberts is a Selmer Paris Performing Artist and a Vandoren Regional Artist and performs exclusively on Selmer and Vandoren products.