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. My mom once found a draft of a letter she wrote to my kindergarten teacher claiming that 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.
The subject matter at SOTL is eclectic. It ranges from forgotten Edwardian violin prodigies to historic orchestra concerts to Beethoven’s crotch. I’m probably best known for my work as an investigative writer during the Minnesota Orchestra lockout. During said debacle, I was honored to have my work cited by Drew McManus, Kevin Case, Norman Lebrecht, and Alex Ross, among others, and I’ve also appeared on or in MinnPost, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, MPR, NPR, and WQXR. Now that the lockout is over, I volunteer with Save Our Symphony Minnesota, which seeks to keep the community engaged in preserving our world-class Minnesota Orchestra.
Music-wise, I played violin in the Chippewa Valley Youth Symphony for four years, 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 studied both violin and viola with a couple of members of the Minnesota Orchestra. I am honored to play a beautiful violin made by Loual Riebel in 2004 in Cremona. I’m slightly less honored to play a factory viola…but still: honored.
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 is a personal crusade of mine.
This blog’s name is inspired by the 1915 novel The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. The book 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.”