Dr. Erika Svanoe is a conductor and wind band specialist in the greater Twin Cities area. Originally from Whitewater, Wisconsin, her previous roles include Director of Bands at Bemidji State University, co-director of the Bemidji Area Community Band, Director of Athletic Bands at the University of New Hampshire, and Director of Bands at Mukwanago (WI) High School. In 2007, she was a featured civilian guest conductor with the USAF Heritage of America Band. An active supporter of new and innovative music, she has commissioned and premiered works by Andrew Boysen, Asako Hirabayashi, and Matt Saunders. As a performer and ensemble director, she has worked with artists such as Joe Burgstaller, Douglas Monroe, Kevin Daley, and Kiku Collins.
She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Conducting from The Ohio State University, where she served as conductor of the OSU Collegiate Winds, taught undergraduate conducting classes, and was a frequent guest conductor of the OSU Wind Symphony and Symphonic Band. She also holds an MM in Wind Conducting from Oklahoma State University and a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. Her principal conducting teachers include Russel Mikkelson, Joseph Missal, Hilary Apfelstadt, and Marshall Haddock. She has had further study with H. Robert Reynolds, Craig Kirchoff, Allan McMurray and Michael Haithcock.
In addition to conducting and ensemble direction, she has served as an instructor of clarinet, bassoon, instrumental arranging, music appreciation, wind literature, and music theory at the college level. She has been an active adjudicator and clinician in New England and the Great Lakes region since 2003.
Dr. Svanoe's research on Aaron Copland has been published in the WASBE Journal and at the CBDNA national conference. She is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, the College Music Society, and the National Association for Music Education. She is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the National Music Honor Society.
Her instrumental performance credits include clarinet and bass clarinet with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra, saxophone with the Bemidji Big Band, and EWI with the MIDiots contemporary electronic music ensemble, of which she was a founding member. Her principal clarinet teachers include James Pyne, Babette Belter, and Richard Fletcher.
She currently lives near Minneapolis with her husband, designer and graphic novelist Erik Evensen.