Curtis Olson is Professor of Music at Michigan State University where his duties include teaching trombone, coaching trombone quartets, directing the trombone choir and serving as Chair of the Brass and Percussion area. He holds degrees from Bemidji State University in Bemidji, Minnesota and the Eastman School of Music. He was awarded the Performer's Certificate in Trombone from the Eastman School. His primary teachers have been Thomas Swanson and Donald Knaub, and has studied additionally with Edward Kleinhammer, Frank Crisafulli, and Henry Charles Smith.
Mr. Olson has performed as bass trombonist with the Detroit Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Grand Rapids Symphony, Lansing Symphony, and St. Paul Civic Orchestras under such conductors as Neemi Jarvi, Michael Tilson Thomas, Ivan Fischer, Gunther Schuller, Jerzy Semkow, Mitch Miller, Howard Hanson, Donald Johannos, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, and Herbert Bloomstedt, and as guest soloist with the United States Air Force Band under the direction of Col. Arnold G. Gabriel. He has recorded on the Columbia Masterworks label with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting, and as soloist with the Michigan State University Symphonic Band, Kenneth G. Bloomquist conducting, on the Mark Record label. In 1990, he was a faculty member of the Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C. and performed as soloist with the United States Navy Band. He was also bass trombonist with the Brass Band of Battle Creek, when it released its first compact disk, Sing! Sing! Sing! in the spring of 1994 and has performed additionally with the Detroit Chamber Winds, the New Sousa Band, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and the orchestras of Bob Hope and Red Skelton.
In 1985 and 1994 he was on the faculty of the International Trombone Workshop held respectively in Nashville, Tennessee and Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the 1994 workshop he premiered his original composition, "Incursion for Trombone and Synthesizer". During the 1982-83 academic year, he was Artist-in-Residence at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. During his tenure at Michigan State University he has presented clinics and recitals in many colleges and universities throughout the United States.
In January 1992 and in 1996, Mr. Olson received invitations from the Brazilian Embassy to perform and conduct master classes at the International Music Festival (Curso Internacional de Verao) in Brasilia, Brazil. These appearances were co-sponsored by the "Arts America" program of the United States Information Agency and the Brazilian Government.
Professor Olson has been extensively involved with synthesizers and other kinds of electronic sound generators and processors, presenting "music and technology" clinics in the secondary and intermediate school districts as part of a "Synthesizer Duo" with Rich Illman, Professor of Trumpet at Michigan State University. His orchestrations for acoustic instrument and electronic media have been performed at various high schools, music conservatories, and colleges as well as the Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C, the International Music Festival in Brasilia, Brazil, and the International Tuba Convention in Lexington, KY. A number of his compositions including "Incursion for Trombone and Synthesizer" and "Incurzion for Tuba and Synthesizer," and "Intersession Metre" for tromobone and piano are published by Encore Music Publishers.