As a cellist, bassist, conductor and teacher, Erik Anderson’s charismatic personality and thoughtful approach to music engages audiences of all ages and musical tastes. Whether in pre-concert lectures for the Minot Symphony Orchestra, presentations in public school classrooms, or on stages from the Great Plains to Europe, he communicates an infectious curiosity and deep respect for the music he performs—from AC/DC to Zeppelin, Baroque to Contemporary—as well as a passion for education and exploration.
A native of Washington State, he began his cello studies at the age of three, earned his BM and MM from the University of Idaho, and completed his DMA at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His principal teachers have been Wayne C. Smith, William Wharton, and Yehuda Hanani. In 2003, after seven years as a free-lance cellist, assistant conductor, and business owner in Cincinnati, OH, he joined the faculty at Minot State University (Minot, ND) where he currently resides with his wife and four sons as a Full Professor of Music and Chair of the Division. He plays on a modern Italian instrument, made by Riccardo Bergonzi in Cremona in 2006. Apart from music, Dr. Anderson loves to cook, golf, cross-country ski, play games with the family, and chase any type of ball as though his life depended on it.
Anderson is particularly active with the music of JS Bach, highlighted by the Unaccompanied Suites BWV 1007-12, central to his graduate study with renowned performer and pedagogue Yehuda Hanani. Over the past several years he was featured as a performer, clinician, or lecturer on the music of Bach in San Francisco, Grand Forks, ND, Las Vegas, NV, Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Germany, at Drake University (Iowa), and in four concerts with the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas in Cincinnati, OH. Recent lecture-performances include Six Preludes, Six Stories and OrdinaryExtraOrdinary, the latter an exploration of Bach’s life and music as a bridge connecting disparate worlds, using Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher Bach as a point of departure. Characterized by spontaneity as a player and speaker, his favorite performing situation involves programs of music where both topic and musical selections evolve in conversation with the audience, seated just a few feet away. In the Spring of 2016, he was granted a one-semester sabbatical to study and record the Bach suites; many of these are currently available on his Soundcloud profile: fourstringcntrpnt.
Chamber music is also central to his performing and teaching activity. Dr. Anderson is a founding member of the piano trio Luminus, along with his wife, pianist Dianna Anderson, and violinist Jon Rumney. Over the past fifteen years, they have performed hundreds of regional programs exploring both traditional and modern repertoire, including several world premieres. Most recently, Luminus premiered Evolution 3, written for them by Pittsburgh composer Sean Neukom. Exploration of new repertoire continues a passion Dr. Anderson developed while at the Cincinnati Conservatory. At their annual new music festival, hosted by composer Joel Hoffman, he premiered several works per summer, and collaborated with Steve Reich, George Crumb, Milton Babbitt, and Augusta Read Thomas on their own chamber music.
Dr. Anderson regularly performs cello-piano duo repertoire with Dianna, unaccompanied literature from Bach to Kodaly to contemporary, and has locally been featured as a concerto soloist with the symphonies of Minot, Grand Forks, and Bismarck, most recently with the Minot Symphony for the Dvorak Cello Concerto in April of 2017 and the Beethoven Triple in April of 2019.
Anderson conducts the annual Community Rocks concert in Minot, a symphonic rock event he co-founded with Andy Bertsch in 2014 that has raised more than $250,000 for local organizations. He also conducts the MSU String Ensemble as part of his regular duties with Minot State University. As a guest conductor, he has appeared with the Winnipeg Youth Strings, the North Dakota ASTA Orchestra Festival, and the Rapid City Strings in Concert orchestras. He studied conducting with Guy Bordo as assistant conductor with the Richmond (IN) Symphony during the 2002-03 season.