Professor of Music — Theory and Conducting
Conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra
Steven Amundson is in his 28th year on the faculty of St. Olaf College where he is Professor of Music and Conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra. He also teaches courses in music theory, ear training and conducting, and conducts the Philharmonia. Before his arrival to Minnesota, Amundson held conducting posts at the University of Virginia, Tacoma Community College, and as Music Director of the Tacoma Youth Symphony. He is the also founding conductor of the Twin Cities’ based Metropolitan Symphony that he led for five years, and served as Music Director and Conductor of the Bloomington (MN) Symphony from 1984 – 1997. He has held posts on the conducting faculty for the Interlochen National Arts Camp, the Lutheran Summer Music Program and has served as guest conductor for many All-State orchestra festivals throughout the United States. In Minnesota, Amundson has appeared as guest conductor with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony, the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
A commissioned composer and arranger, Amundson is published by MMB Music and the Neil A. Kjos Music Co. His self-published compositions are available through Tempo Music Resource. His orchestral works have received over 400 performances by university, civic and professional orchestras in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia including the Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, Toronto and BBC Symphonies.
A 1977 graduate of Luther College, Amundson obtained the Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern University, and did further studies at the University of Virginia, the Aspen Music School and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. In the 1980 International Conducting Competition hosted by the Mozarteum and Austrian National Radio, Amundson won the first (Hans Häring) prize. In 1992, the Minnesota Music Education Association named him “Minnesota Orchestra Educator of the Year.” In 1995, Amundson received the Carlo A. Sperati Award from Luther College in recognition of his meritorious achievement in the field of music.
Assistant Professor of Music — Theory
Assistant Professor, David Castro, received a B.Mus. in Music Education from Pacific Union College in 1998, a M.M. in Music Theory from The University of Arizona in 2000, and earned his Ph.D. in Music Theory at the University of Oregon in 2005. His doctoral dissertation, advised by Jack Boss, was titled, “Sonata Form in the Music of Dmitri Shostakovich.” In it, Castro examines Shostakovich’s adroit handling of a tonal form while maintaining his own unique post-tonal voice. Castro’s analyses also support hermeneutic interpretations when such readings are appropriate. Castro continues to examine Shostakovich’s music, having presented numerous papers at Music Theory conferences nationwide. He is also conducting research into the employment of Schenkerian notions of prolongation to examine Twentieth-century compositions, particularly for the works of those composers who employ neo-tonal compositional techniques, including non-functional triadic harmony and free counterpoint.
Professor of Music — History and Literature
Hanson received a B.A. in music from Wells College, Aurora, NY and master’s and Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois, Champaign, IL. She studied at Universität der Stadt Wien at Vienna, Austria, under a Fulbright-Hayes grant. Her specialty is the music of Vienna during the 18-20th centuries, but she also has interests in opera and American music. Her publications include a monograph on Music in Biedermeier Vienna (Cambridge University Press) and articles for Music and Letters, Anterem, and in the Oxford Biographical Dictionary of Music.
Professor of Music — History and Literature
Conductor of Collegium Musicum and Early Music Singers
Hoekstra teaches music history and directs the St. Olaf early music ensembles, the Collegium Musicum and Early Music Singers. His area of specialization is music of the Renaissance, particularly the French and Flemish chanson. He has published articles in Early Music, Musica Disciplina, Speculum, and The Choral Journal, and he has published critical editions of music of Hubert Waelrant, André Pevernage, and others, most recently an edition of the Cantiones sacrae of Pevernage in three volumes of the series Recent Researches in the Music of the Renaissance. He is a member of the American Musicological Society, the Viola da Gamba Society of America, Sixteenth Century Studies Society, and Early Music America. In 2002 EMA presented him with Thomas Binkley Award, a national collegium directors award. He has served on the board of Early Music America and chaired the EMA Committee for Early Music in Higher Education from 2001-2009. Hoekstra earned his B.A. from Calvin College and master’s and doctoral degrees in music history from The Ohio State University under a University Fellowship.
Professor of Music — Composition and Conducting
Conductor of the St. Olaf Band
Timothy Mahr holds a B.M. degree in composition and a B.A. degree in music education from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in trombone performance and a D.M.A. in instrumental conducting from the University of Iowa. An internationally acclaimed composer, Dr. Mahr received the 1991 Ostwald Award in the ABA Band Composition Contest for his composition The Soaring Hawk. He was elected to the American Bandmasters Association in 1993. Formerly director of bands at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and founding conductor of the Twin Ports Wind Ensemble, Dr. Mahr is the principal conductor of the Minnesota Symphonic Winds and is active as a clinician and guest conductor nationally and internationally. Recent commissions have come from the United States Air Force Band, the Music Educators National Conference, and the American Bandmasters Association. Twenty-five of his works have been published, with many released on compact disc recordings and included on state contest lists. Dr. Mahr is a past-president of the North Central Division of the College Band Directors National Association (1999-2001), has served on the Board of Directors of the National Band Association (1996-98) and was a founding board member of the Minnesota Band Directors Association.
Associate Professor of Music — Theory and Composition
Composer Justin Merritt (bn. 1975) was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Rudolph Nissim award in 2001 for Janus Mask for Orchestra. He is the winner of many other awards including the 2011 McKnight Fellowship, the 2008 Copland Award, the 2008 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Award for River of Blood, the 2006 Polyphonos Prize for Hay Días, the 2006 VocalEssence Essentially Chorale Competition for Adoro Te Devote, the 2000 Left Coast Chamber Ensemble Composition Competition Award for The Day Florestan Murdered Magister Raro, and the 2001 Kuttner String Quartet Competition for Ravening. His music has been heard across North America, Europe, and Asia. Hear more music by Justin Merritt at www.mooneast.com.
Instructor in Music — Music Theory
Reinaldo Moya is a Venezuelan American composer whose music is often inspired by literature. Through his explorations of the relationship between music and literary texts, Moya finds an outlet for his own personal sense of drama and lyricism.He received a Masters degree from The Juilliard School, where he is currently a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. His teachers at Juilliard included Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. In 2006, he graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University, where he studied with John Beall.Mr. Moya is the recipient of Meet the Composer’s 2011 Van Lier Fellowship, as well as multiple Morton Gould Young Composer Awards from ASCAP. In 2011, he was awarded the Aaron Copland Award which led to a residency in Aaron Copland’s historic New York home. In 2007, Mr. Moya’s String Quartet was premiered by the Attacca Quartet at the Museum of Modern Art. His orchestral work Aurora Australis was awarded the Walter Friedman Memorial Prize for Orchestral Composition in 2008, and was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra under Jeffrey Milarsky.
He has received commissions from Trio 180 (Resident ensemble at the University of the Pacific) and the New York Choreographic Institute. His opera Generalissimo, based on the life of a fictional Latin American dictator, is currently under development in conjunction with playwright Jessica Foster. Mr. Moya’s music is published by the American Composers Alliance.
Assistant Professor of Music — Flute and Theory
Catherine Ramirez earned flute performance degrees at Occidental College (BA), Boccherini Music Institute in Italy (Honors Diploma), Queens College (MA), Yale University School of Music (MM), and Rice University (DMA). Her teachers include Melissa Colgin-Abeln, Gary Woodward, Marzio Conti, Tara Helen O’Connor, Ransom Wilson and Leone Buyse.
Dr. Ramirez won Second Prize in the Winds Division of the 2013 Città di Padova International Music Competitions and two Third Prizes (Winds and Virtuosity Divisions) at the same competition in 2012 in Italy (the only American to be awarded). She has performed as a solo, chamber and orchestral musician in Italy, France, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, China, and in the United States. Dr. Ramirez made her New York recital debut in 2000, and has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at the Teatro del Giglio in Italy, Salt Lake City’s Temple Square, Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space and Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall in New York. Garnering audience acclaim at the National Flute Association (NFA) Convention in North Carolina (2011), she was recently showcased at the 2012 NFA Convention in Las Vegas, and performed at the 2013 New Orleans Convention. Her playing has been broadcast live on Chicago’s classical radio station WFMT, Rice University’s KTRU and Houston’s KUHF “Front Row” Program.
She has been a concerto soloist in the United States, Italy and China. She performed on Bellini’s La Sonnambula Variations with L’Offerta Musicale Chamber Orchestra of Venice. Symphonic performances include the El Paso Opera and El Paso Symphony Orchestras, the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the Rice University Shepherd School Orchestras led by Larry Rachleff. Pperformances as principal flutist include Mozart’s Don Giovanni with conductor Richard Bado, Lalo Schifrin’s Tangos Concertantes with violinist Cho-Liang Lin, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs with soprano Renée Fleming.
Dr. Ramirez is a recent winner of the Sallie Shepherd Perkins Prize for Best Achievement from Rice University(2010). As the winner of grants from the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust, the Ernst Krenek Society, and philanthropist Andreas Waldburg-Wolfegg, she recorded her debut recital CD Transformation, and commissioned and premiered a new flute and piano work entitled Into Utter Forever (2006) by University of Colorado (Boulder) composer Daniel Kellogg.
Dr. Ramirez served as a music panelist for the 2010 Hispanic Career and Education Day held at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston. Her guest masterclass appearances include Brigham Young University (BYU), University of Utah, New Mexico State University, repeat engagements at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), Bowling Green State University, and the University of Central Florida. She has recently taught masterclasses internationally at the Liceo Musicale Statale di Lucca (Italy), the Middle School of the Shanghai Conservatory (China), the Universidad de Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia), and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Conservatorio de Musica (Bogota, Colombia).
Artist in Residence — Theory and Organ
Catherine Rodland, whose playing has been described as “transcendent” (The American Organist), is Artist in Residence at St. Olaf College. She graduated cum laude with departmental distinction in organ performance from St. Olaf in 1987. She received both the MM and DMA from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where she was a student of Russell Saunders. At Eastman, Catherine received the prestigious Performer’s Certificate and the Ann Anway Award for excellence in organ performance. She is a prizewinner in several competitions including the 1994 and 1998 American Guild of Organists Young Artists Competition, the 1994 Calgary International Organ Competition, and the 1988 International Organ Competition at the University of Michigan for which she received first prize. She concertizes extensively throughout the United States and Canada.
At St. Olaf Catherine teaches a full studio of organ students as well as music theory and ear training classes. She performs regularly at St. Olaf, in 2007 dedicating the new Holtkamp organ in Boe Memorial Chapel, and performing as a featured soloist with the St. Olaf Orchestra and the St. Olaf Band. These performances were released as CDs through St. Olaf Records. In 2010 Catherine released two CDs: “Dedication”, and “American Weavings”, the latter recorded in Boe Chapel at St. Olaf College with violist and duo partner Carol Rodland. The Rodland Duo is managed by Concert Artists Cooperative.