Member Highlight

Rolf Krogstad, Viola 

Rolf Krogstad

Hope long have you played with Civic?

I started playing COM back in the late 80s or early 90s but scheduling conflicts caused me to switch to another orchestra which was, at that time, conducted by Cary John Franklin.  About a year after Maestro Franklin accepted the position of conductor of COM I rejoined COM.  All in all I have playing in the orchestra for 25 or 30 years.

Why do you play in the orchestra?

I play in orchestra because it is in my blood.  It is something I need to do to balance my life.  I used to play professionally full time in the Xalapa Symphony Orchestra in Xalapa, Veracruz  Mexico but took several years off from orchestras after switching careers and having a young family. Not playing regularly the great orchestral music left a hole in my life.  Practicing alone is not the same as collaborating with others.  I need that interaction with others in recreating music to feel like I am one with my sliver of the universe.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do?

My mother started me on piano at age four, and I continued lessons until I was 15.  I started playing violin in 9th grade at Ordean Junior High School in Duluth even though I wanted to play viola. I had my first private lesson at 17 and then, when I got to college, I switched to viola.  I studied with Dr. Clyn Barrus, formerly principal viola of the Minnesota Orchestra and, prior to that, principal of the Vienna Symphony in Austria.  Dr. Barrus encouraged me to go to Vienna after college and so for two years I attended the Akademie fur Musik, currently known as the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.  While in Vienna I played in a string quartet, in the school orchestra, and I played gigs and subbed in orchestras in Vienna.   After this experience, I  won a position in the orchestra in Xalapa and stayed there for 3+ years.  With a family on the way, I moved back to the States and changed careers.   Since 1982, I have been working in the field of Computer Programming, Operations and Networking and am currently employed by Ultima Bank Minnesota. I lead a team of software developers working on back office banking systems.

What other activities do you participate in?

I love playing chamber music, small ensembles such as quartets, trios, etc., with various combinations of strings, winds and piano.  I also try to do one solo recital per year where I collaborate with the pianist Karla Cole who frequently joins the COM as pianist.
In areas other than music I love following baseball, I play tennis every week and then there is my second passion:  amateur radio.  My callsign is NR0T and I have been licensed since I was 15.  My wife, also a ham since she was a teen, and I like to do radio contests from the car where, once a year, we drive through various counties in the state and operate stations while in various counties.  I also love working international stations (DX) and I am proficient in Morse Code, my favorite mode of communication while on the radio.  We have a 50 foot high tower with a large HF rotatable antenna.  Above that I have two smaller VHF and UHF antennas which I use to communicate through Amateur Radio Satellites, an aspect of the hobby which always fascinated me and which I have been pursuing for the past 5 or 6 years.

Civic Orchestra activities are assisted by voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metroplitan Regional Art  Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.