Welcome to my music blog. My name is Emily E Hogstad, I’m in my mid-twenties, I play violin and viola, and I currently live in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
I’ve been a music nerd my whole life; recently my mother uncovered a draft of a letter she wrote to my kindergarten teacher claiming one of my academic strengths was my “ability to identify Mozart.” I’ve been geeking out ever since. I started playing piano at five, violin at nine, and viola at twenty-two…and I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember!
This blog first started garnering attention during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout, which began in October 2012. You can read about why I started writing about the topic here. In the last year, my research has been cited by Drew McManus, arts lawyer Kevin Case, Norman Lebrecht, and Alex Ross, among others, and I’ve appeared in MinnPost and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, as well as on MPR, NPR, and WQXR. In August 2013 I broke the story of how the Minnesota Orchestral Association bought various domain names associated with the phrase “save our orchestra” and “save the orchestra” months before the lockout began. That story blew past the blogosphere and into national mainstream press. In my spare time I volunteer for the organization Save Our Symphony Minnesota, which is working to bring great symphonic music to Minnesota. It’s hugely fulfilling work.
I played violin in the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony for four years during high school, serving intermittently in principal roles. Since then I’ve performed with various ensembles, including the String Connection Orchestra and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. In 2006, I attended the Green Lake Festival of Music in Green Lake, Wisconsin, and worked with such nationally-renowned faculty and guest artists as the Amelia Piano Trio, Desiree Ruhstraht, and Samantha George. I’ve also taken intermittent lessons from a couple members of the Minnesota Orchestra. I am honored to play a beautiful instrument made by Loual Riebel in 2004 in Cremona.
My first love is the history of women in classical music. I’m especially interested in the lives of the great female violin virtuosas of the Victorian era who have sadly been all but forgotten today. Documenting and celebrating their lives and careers has become a personal crusade of mine.
This blog’s name is inspired by the 1915 novel The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather, which chronicles the journey of a small-town Midwestern girl of Scandinavian descent who aspires to fulfill her all-consuming passion for music. It’s also not coincidence that the name reminds any violin-lover of Ralph Vaughan Williams’s piece The Lark Ascending, which was inspired and premiered by English violinist Marie Hall.
The header image is a detail from Edmund Charles Tarbell’s 1890 painting “Girl with Violin.”