Johnson Fine Arts Center 125
Associate Professor of Music/Director of Bands
School of Fine Arts
School of Fine Arts
Music Education (Graduate)
D.M. University of Northern Colorado
M.M. University of South Dakota
B.A. Augustana College
Dr. Rolf Olson joined NSU in fall 2016. He previously was director of bands and professor of trumpet at the University of South Dakota. There, he directed the Symphonic Band and Brass Choir, oversaw the graduate and undergraduate programs in conducting, and taught studio trumpet. He also performed with the USD faculty ensembles, South Dakota Brass Quintet and South Dakota Jazz Quintet. Prior to USD, Dr. Olson taught public school music in Arlington and Vermillion, S.D., and taught at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Dr. Olson is an active trumpet player, performing regularly with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; the Sioux Falls Big Band; and the Dalesburg Cornet Band, of which he is cornet soloist and musical director. In 2003, he performed the South Dakota premier of Robert Bradshaw's Sonata for Trumpet & Piano. He has also played professionally with the Carson & Barnes Circus Band, Gene Pitney Orchestra and Myron Floren.
Dr. Olson is an active guest clinician/conductor, having directed the Dakota Wind Ensemble, the Nebraska Class B and C all state bands, the South Dakota Middle School All State Band, the Northwest Iowa Honor Band, and numerous other band festivals and jazz festivals. He is an adjudicator for all types of instrumental music competitions and the South Dakota All State Band auditions.
Dr. Olson is co-founder of the South Dakota All State Jazz Festival, and served for many years as treasurer of the South Dakota Unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE). He recently received the Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year Award in South Dakota, and the Distinguished Service Award from the South Dakota High School Activities Association - awarded for the furtherance of high school activities while making significant contributions that have exemplified the highest ideals of service given to the association and to the youth of South Dakota.