Instructor Biographies

Strings Institute

Caroline Nordlund, Violin

Caroline Nordlund

Caroline Nordlund earned a Master of Music in violin performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University as a student of Gerardo Ribeiro. At Northwestern, she was awarded the Richard and Helen Thomas Fellowship while a graduate assistant to Stacia Spencer and Dr. James Kjelland.

Caroline is a former faculty member of the Northwestern University Music Academy where she taught violin and Kindermusik. As the Assistant Group Director of Northwestern Strings, Caroline led her students on a tour of Italy as a part of the American Celebration of Music. Caroline has attended the Meadowmount School of Music, Aspen Music Festival and School, Spoleto U.S.A. and Sewanee Summer Music Festivals.

She has participated in masterclasses and additional studies with Mimi Zweig, Vadim Gluzman, Benny Kim, Chee-Yun, Herbert Greenberg, Ian Swensen, Axel Strauss and Thomas Moore. Caroline plays in the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra and teaches at the Community Music School of the University of Alabama. Caroline is the COO and Director of the Scrollworks Youth Music School in Birmingham, Alabama, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to making music instruction available to all. At Scrollworks, she teaches violin, viola and recorder. Originally from South Carolina, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance.

Dr. Justin Knoepfel, Viola

Justin Knoepfel

Dr. Justin Knoepfel joined the Gustavus faculty in the Fall of 2009 as Adjunct Viola Instructor. Since 2010, Dr. Knoepfel is a full-time Instructor in Violin and Viola and also the conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dr. Knoepfel graduated from Luther College with a degree in Violin Performance (2004).T wo years later he received his Master of Music (2006) degree in viola from the University of Minnesota. Most recently Dr. Knoepfel received a Doctorate of Musical Arts (2010) degree in viola performance and a secondary emphasis in music theory at the University of Minnesota's School of Music. His awards include the Clarence L. Torp Fellowship and the Berneking Fellowship. Dr. Knoepfel's dissertation focused on "BACH'S VIOLA CONCERTO: A Transposition, Transcription, and Reconstruction of BWV 169, 49, & 1053."

Dr. Knoepfel has participated as a performer and teacher in various programs including Dorian Music Festival, Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, Salem Music Academy, Bravo!, and the International Viola Congress.In addition, Dr. Knoepfel is a substitute violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Opera, and former principal violist of Exultate Chorus & Orchestra. He has performed throughout the United States and in Europe at such venues as Konzerthaus Wien, Orchestra Hall, Ordway Center, Le Jeune Lune Theatre, Bethel University, University of Minnesota, and Luther College. His primary teachers have been Mr. Korey Konkol, Dr. Spencer Martin, and Mr. Tom Turner.

Karl Knapp, Cello

Karl Knapp

Cellist Karl Knapp holds the position of principal cello with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra and the Arctic Chamber Orchestra. Dr. Knapp is also a member of the Alaska Piano Trio and the Alaska Chamber Players.

Dr. Knapp’s background as a performer is quite varied. He has played with Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Opera Orchestra, Minnesota Opera Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra. Having particular affinity and experience as a chamber musician, Dr Knapp performed for 4 years as a member of the Hunt String Quartet, the graduate string quartet in residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr Knapp also has a background in broadway performance, having played on the national tour of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town.

Dr. Knapp holds degrees from Illinois Wesleyan University and University of Wisconsin - Madison. His primary teachers have been Karl Lavine, Stephen Kartman, Nina Gordon, Uri Vardi, Parry Karp, and members the Pro Arte String Quartet.

Dr. Rolf Erdahl, Double Bass

Rolf Erdahl

Dr. Rolf Erdahl, double bass, performs widely as a chamber musician and subs for the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Minnesota Opera. Previously Principal Bass of the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, he has subbed with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and performed with the Breckenridge Music Festival, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic, New World Symphony, Miami Beach Basstet, and White Noise Chamber Players. He has taught bass at the University of Manitoba, Ball State and Wichita State Universities, the Sewanee Music Festival, and the North Carolina Governor's School. He graduated from St. Olaf College, the University of Minnesota, and the Peabody Conservatory. Fulbright and Scandinavian-American Foundation Scholar studies in Norway culminated in his doctoral dissertation on the music of Grieg. Eugene Levinson has been his major teacher. He has also studied with Peter Lloyd, Bruce Bransby, Paul Ellison, Hal Robinson, and James Clute.

Dr. Erdahl and his wife, oboist Carrie Vecchione, present oboe/bass duo recitals and educational programs regionally and across the nation. The Vecchione/Erdahl Duo's efforts have effectively created a new duo literature for oboe/English horn and double bass. Their Pages of Music with Rolf and Carrie educational programs link music and children's literature for schools, libraries, and bookstores. They are roster artists with Young Audiences of Minnesota, the St Paul Chamber Orchestra's CONNECT Program to the schools, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra's Community Engagement Program, and Minnesota Orchestra's YPSCA. Their debut duo CD, "It Takes Two . . ." was released by Centaur Records. Awards include a 2006 American Composer's Forum Encore Grant supporting repeat performances of Andrea Clearfield's Three Songs for Oboe and Double Bass after Poems by Pablo Neruda, 2007 and 2009 Subito Grant in support of recording projects, and a 2007 Jerome Composers Commissioning Program Grant for a new work for oboe and bass by Margaret Griebling-Haigh, Askelad and the Seven Silver Ducks. Their website is

Dr. Erdahl is also the organizer and an annual participant in the Chamber Music Coffee Concert series at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. He teaches double bass at Gustavus Adolphus College and at the Lutheran Summer Music Festival and is also a faculty member of the Gustavus Adolphus Summer Music Institute.

Dr. Ruth Lin

Ruth Lin

Dr. Ruth Lin became the Director of Symphony Orchestra at Gustavus Adolphus College in the fall of 2010. In addition to directing the Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Lin also teaches Music Theory, Basic Conducting, and First Term Seminars. From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Lin have served as the Director of Orchestral Activities at Iowa State University where she conducted the Iowa State Symphony Orchestra and taught beginning and advanced instrumental conducting as well as other music classes.

Dr. Lin performed as a Debut Conductor with the National Symphony Orchestra in 2007 as part of the National Conducting Institute where she had the opportunity to work with Maestro Leonard Slatkin and led the National Symphony Orchestra in concert. Ms. Lin is also the Founding Director and Conductor of the "Good Samaritan Symphony Orchestra," an orchestra of student, free-lance, and community-based musicians. She has served as the Assistant Conductor of the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra from 2005- 2007. She has also guest conducted the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, Northwestern University Philharmonia, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, Central Iowa Symphony, and the Xiamen Philharmonic in Xiamen, China. Ms. Lin has conducted several premiers, including works by composer Chia Lin Pan.

Dr. Lin was born in Zhang Zhou, China. She immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of ten and began her musical studies on the piano at the age of five. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University in Music Education and Music Technology in 2002. While working on her undergraduate degree, Ms. Lin studied piano with Alan Chow and had the opportunity to perform Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.1 with the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra as the Concerto Competition Winner. Still active as a pianist ad performer, she was featured on the Dame Myra Hess Series on WFMT in March 2007, as part of the Lin-Kontorovitch piano duo and performs regularly in the Chicagoland area. Recordings of Dr. Lin's four-hand piano performances could be found on

Dr. Lin completed her Masters and Doctoral Degrees at Northwestern University in orchestral conducting where she studied under Maestro Victor Yampolsky. Her other conducting teachers include Leonard Slatkin, David Effron, Fred Ockwell, Robert Hasty, and John Lynch. Dr. Lin's piano teachers include Alan Chow and Sylvia Wang.