Steven Amundson began his teaching and conducting career in Tacoma, Washington where he was music director of the Tacoma Youth Symphony. He joined the music faculty of St. Olaf College in 1981 and currently serves as Professor of Music and Conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra. The orchestra is recognized as one of the finest collegiate symphonies in this country and recently won the American Prize in Orchestra Performance . Under Amundson's direction, the St. Olaf Orchestra has toured widely throughout the United States and Europe, and has been featured on Austrian National Radio, National Public Radio (including two appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion), National Public Television, and at regional and national music conventions.
Amundson is the founding conductor of the Twin Cities' based Metropolitan Symphony which he led for five years. He also served as Music Director and Conductor of the Bloomington (MN) Symphony from 1984 to 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 and Honors Orchestra festivals throughout the United States. Amundson remains active as guest conductor of professional ensembles in Minnesota and has led the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra, Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. An active composer and arranger, Amundson's self-published compositions are represented by Tempo Music Resource. He is also published by Boosey and Hawkes and the Neil A. Kjos Music Co. His orchestral works have received over 1,000 performances by university, civic and professional orchestras including the Alabama, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Hilton Head, Kansas City, Houston, Illinois, Jacksonville, Long Beach, Madison, Maryland, Milwaukee, New Mexico, Orlando, Omaha, Oregon, Peninsula Pops, Phoenix, Portland (Maine), Rhode Island, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, South Dakota, Tacoma, Utah, and Virginia Symphonies. His works have also been performed internationally in Canada, England, and Taiwan. 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. He has enjoyed the tutelage of notable conductors including Maurice Abravanel, Milan Horvat, Erich Leinsdorf, and Bernard Rubenstein.
Since moving from North Dakota to Sweden in 2008, composer Matthew Peterson has swiftly made his mark as an independent, vital new voice in opera and orchestra composition, praised for his “mastery of vocal writing and colorful orchestration” (Classical Voice America) and for crafting opera that is “truly beautiful” (The Washington Post) “darkly brilliant” (Texas Classical Review) and “startlingly immediate” (Wall Street Journal).
Peterson has recently been commissioned by Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Fort Worth Opera, Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Gustav Sjökvist Chamber Choir, Uppsala Vokalensemble, Tartu University Chamber Choir, Northwestern University, guitarist Mårten Falk, and saxophonist Linn Persson. His work has been awarded numerous prizes in the US and Sweden, including the ASCAP Nissim Prize for best orchestral work, grand prize in the Uppsala Composer Competition, and the Fort Worth Frontiers award for new opera. He has received grants and funding from US Fulbright, STIM, ASCAP, Svensk Musik, Swedish Arts Council, and FST (Swedish Composers Association).
Born 1984 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, he is a graduate of Gotlands tonsättarskola, Indiana University, and St. Olaf College, where his teachers included Sven-David Sandström and Mary Ellen Childs. Peterson has taught at institutions including Gotlands tonsättarskola, Indiana University, and Lilla Akademien. A freelance composer in Stockholm, he lives in a cabin on the island Lovö.
Peterson's works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony, Aldworth Philharmonic, Gävle Symphony, Vanemuine Symphony, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Västerås Sinfonietta, Dalasinfonietta, Norrlandsopera Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Greater Grand Forks Symphony, Holland Symphony, LaPorte County Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Maryland Symphony, Richmond Symphony, St Olaf College, Goshen College, Concordia College, Bethel University, Hope College, Montana State University, and Northwestern University.