Meet the Founder

Founder & President          1979 – 1998

In his fifth decade with the Chicago Symphony, David Sanders is the last remaining member of the cello section of the CSO’s legendary principal cellist Frank Miller. Appointed to the Chicago Symphony in 1974 by Sir Georg Solti at the age of 24, David was the founder and president for 19 years of the Chicago Cello Society, as well as the editor of its newsletter, The Cello Scroll. He has organized and performed in concerts sponsored by the Society which included the complete cello sonatas of Beethoven, the complete etudes of David Popper and numerous cello ensemble concerts. In the spring of 2008, he helped organize and performed in a concert the Cello Society presented of 20 solo works of David Popper, a concert which included five cellists from the CSO. He has also given master classes and seminars on orchestral playing. In the fall of 2008, he organized and participated in a performance by five member of the CSO’s cello section of the complete Beethoven cello sonatas.

Sanders began playing cello at the age of 14 in high school in Miami, Florida, and made his solo debut eighteen months later with the Miami Symphonic Society Orchestra. He was a scholarship student at the University of Miami and Florida State University summer orchestra festivals, the Eastern Music Festival and the London Symphony Institute. His teachers include Bernice Schwartz, Dudley Powers, Frank Miller, Channing Robbins and Raya Garbousova, and he has participated in master classes with János Starker, Zara Nelsova and Lynn Harrell.

Sanders has held principal cello positions with the Northwestern University concert and chamber orchestras, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Lake Forest Symphony and Florida Symphony. He also has played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony and Milwaukee Symphony, and he has appeared as soloist with orchestras throughout the Midwest. As a chamber musician, he played with the Montagnana Trio for 25 years and was the cellist of the Burnham String Quartet and the Colin-Mezin String Quartet. He has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony String Quartet.

David founded the Chicago Cello Society in 1979 on the urging of the great cellist and teacher, Janos Starker.  His impressive term as president spanned 19 consecutive years! As president emeritus, he continues to remain actively involved in the goings-on of the Society.

David has two cats, Josh and Toby, two siblings that he adopted from a rescue organization. He owns one of the largest collections of rare books and autographs relating to string instruments in the world. Montagnana Books, his international company with customers as close as Chicago and as far away as Europe, Australia, Japan and Thailand, deals in books and autographs pertaining to the string player.


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