Steven Amundson, a Mediator and Professor of Music at St. Olaf College
Steven has extensive experience defending nonprofits as well as working pro bono for employees, making him an exceptional mediator. He quickly recognizes both parties’ underlying interests in employment disputes and can quickly help them come to workable solutions.
Under Amundson’s direction, the St. Olaf Orchestra won two consecutive first prizes in the American Prize among colleges and universities: 2013 and 2019. His commissioned orchestral compositions are published by Lauren Keiser Music and distributed through Tempo Music Resource.
Early Life and Education
Steven Amundson has served as Professor of Music at St. Olaf College since 1981, conducting their orchestra and twice winning the American Prize in Orchestra Performance among colleges and universities under his guidance. Additionally, Amundson has conducted professional ensembles such as Twin Cities-based Metropolitan Symphony. From 1984-1997 he served as Music Director of Bloomington (Minnesota) Symphony.
Amundson not only conducts, but teaches music theory and ear training. He has composed 23 original orchestral works as well as arranging over 30 others. One of Amundson’s favorite moments was performing at the 2021 St. Olaf Christmas Festival in San Justo Argentina for an audience that had never before experienced a symphony orchestra, an experience which left an everlasting impression both for himself and those attending this unforgettable festival.
Amundson has had tremendous success representing nonprofits against allegations of discrimination, retaliation and wage and hour class actions. Additionally, he has successfully mediated employment matters such as wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation and Labor Code violations.
Amundson currently teaches and conducts the St. Olaf Orchestra, which won an American Prize in Orchestra Performance among colleges and universities in 2013. In addition, he has led honors orchestras around the world and is proud of having mentored many students who are now music educators or professional musicians.
Steven has extensive experience as a litigator, which gives him a distinct perspective and understanding of how cases may be perceived by judges or juries, making for successful, results-oriented mediation sessions. Steven is licensed to practice both in California and Washington.
Achievement and Honors
Since 1981, Amundson has led St. Olaf College’s Christmas Festival music event; featuring five choirs and the orchestra. Additionally he teaches courses in music theory and aural skills; previously holding conducting positions at Virginia Commonwealth University and Tacoma Community College, Twin Cities-based Metropolitan Symphony; guest conducting professional ensembles throughout Minnesota.
Under his direction, the 92-member Orchestra has won numerous awards and toured extensively both domestically and abroad, with recordings featured on NPR, PBS and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Amundson has been widely recognized by his members as “an exceptional teacher and leader”, creating a sense of family within their ensemble.
Steven Amundson is a retired attorney and mediator who previously held the directorship of music at H-B Woodlawn High School. Additionally, he serves as a commissioned composer, arranger and conductor – teaching piano, theory and history courses while serving as professor of orchestral conducting for Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic held annually in Annandale VA.
He readily gives credit to his colleagues in the St. Olaf music department, especially the instrumental faculty who have served as excellent mentors to students. Additionally, he acknowledges the behind-the-scenes staff members for taking care of tour and concert logistics so he can focus on musical creation.
Otto Amundson was raised in Prairie Farm as the son of Otto and Anna (Saugstad) Amundson. For two-and-a-half years he worked at the Borkon Store before joining the U.S. Navy as a destroyer operator on USS Gainard until being discharged in 1944.
Amundson lived an eventful life that included hobby farms in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota where he raised sheep, cattle, and horses for livestock shows; additionally he took time out of his day to train, raise, care for farm working dogs and show dogs before becoming an accomplished horse farrier who provided dental work on horses and made saddles.
Amundson currently holds the position of Professor of Music and Conductor for St. Olaf College Orchestra – recently winning an American Prize in Orchestral Performance among colleges and universities – at St. Olaf. Additionally, he has extensive conducting experience both domestically and internationally.
He leaves behind his beloved wife of 36 years, Theresa Hammelman Amundson of Sheboygan, Wisconsin; children Beret and Karl; siblings Nancy Cattanach from ND and Wanda Amundson from CA; sister-in-law Gloria Hammelman from Minnesota; nieces, nephews and many friends.