Colleagues of a San Francisco State University graduate student and musician slain in Antigua last week are struggling to deal with her death, faculty said today.
Nina Nilssen, 29, was found stabbed to death last Tuesday while on a Caribbean cruise with her family, according to news reports.
Nilssen, a Bay Area resident originally from New Mexico, was about to enter her second semester as a graduate student studying music composition, according to Ronald Caltabiano, associate dean of the school’s College of Creative Arts and one of her teachers. She had also studied music composition as an undergraduate at the school.
“It’s one of those horribly shocking things,” Caltabiano said.
Nilssen’s cruise ship had made port at Antigua during a seven-day cruise when the stabbing occurred. No arrests have been reported.
Caltabiano, himself a composer, called Nilssen “intensely thoughtful,” quiet and introspective. Her compositions were “intense,” he said, “modernist but very lyrical.”
“I guess, above all, very individualist,” Caltabiano said of her work. “She wasn’t copying anyone’s music, she was writing her own.”
Caltabiano said Nilssen’s student colleagues received the news with shock and tears.
“The hardest thing to get around is the fact that someone who has been a part of your life for years, is just simply gone,” he said. “I myself had that reaction. I was planning on seeing her tomorrow.”