ABOUT KATIE BERGLOF (Long Bio)
Hailing from the midwest, Katie identifies as Latin-Scandinavian descent. She was adopted along with her identical twin sister as newborn infants from El Salvador during the 1984 civil war. They were raised in the tiny town of Sherwood, North Dakota on a small rural farm. Her adoptive mothers side of the family immigrated from Flåmsdalen valley in Norway, and her father's side from Sweden; thus the Scandinavian heritage. Katie is proud of all three of her backgrounds/roots that make up her heritage.
Katie and her sister had a passion for music from an early age and both enrolled in private piano lessons at the age of four. In middle school Katie took up classical guitar and violin lessons; earning a guitar scholarship to the International Peace Gardens Summer Music Program in Manitoba, Canada; and her sister took up the trumpet and started participating in solo and state competitions.
In 1999 half of the Berglof family moved to Carroll Iowa, where Katie at the age of fifteen was coaxed into playing the French horn in the high school band if she wanted to accept the guitar position in the jazz band. Although she took private jazz guitar lessons in Omaha Nebraska every weekend. The genre was not her forte.
Surprisingly Katie ended up falling in love with the horn after her band director Dr. Frederick Burrack gave her a recording of a professional horn player. She took the recording home over summer, bought all the Mozart horn concertos, and started playing along with the recordings every day. The following year Katie won all 1st chair and principal positions in several honor bands, all-state, and was both a finalist and winner of a handful of scholarship competitions; often having to compete against her twin in the finals. Her senior year she was a finalist in the Northwest Iowa Bandmasters Major Landers Scholarship competition and performed at the Iowa Music Education Associations conference.
During Katie and her sister's time in Carroll Iowa, a missionary worker from the U.S. who was stationed in El Salvador reached out to the Berglof family to inform them that the biological family of Katie and Allie were looking for them.
Katie and her sister found out that their biological mother didn't want to give them up for adoption, but because they were born prematurely during a civil war, had severe medical needs (Katie needed to undergo heart surgery, and both infants were having seizures and malnutrition issues), the hospital told the biological family (the Beltrans) they could not afford to keep the twins, and put them up for adoption without the family's consent.
The biological family tried to fight the hospital to get the daughters back, and they all came together to pay the amount needed to cover the medical costs for the twins. But the hospital had already relocated the twins to an agency and would not give the family information on where they were.The Beltran family went through tremendous pain, anger, and frustration....but they were helpless in their fight. Their mother was a devote Catholic and highly spiritually connected. She had a vision that they would find the twins again....and they did.
Katie and her sister were able to fly their biological mother to Iowa in 2001 after the missionary worker reached out to them. Their biological mother Dalia Estella Beltran stayed with them for a year and was miraculously given free emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix on the day of her departure flight after the adoption story was shared in the newspapers.
Katie and her sister were able to come into contact with most of their biological siblings over the phone, mail, internet, and in later years via skype and facebook.
Due to Katie's parents preference of a private christian Methodist-based in-state school, Katie and her sister started off their college career at Morningside College in Sioux City Iowa. Katie held principal horn of the Sioux City Youth Symphony and her sister principal trumpet in 2002. Although her time spent there was very short, she had a supportive professor (Dr. Michael Berger - principal horn Sioux City Symphony). Due to her professors friendship with the famous UK horn soloist (and professor of horn at the Royal Academy of Music) Michael Thompson, Katie was able to attend the Michael Thompson Summer Horn Course where she and a small handful of hornist studied with him. The course usually took place in Italy, but was moved to the U.S. briefly. Before Katie moved, she won the college concerto competition and performed R. Strauss 1st horn concerto, mov.1, in Eppley auditorium.
In 2004 Katie's twin sister transferred to the University of Northern Colorado, and Katie won an associate principal horn position with the Bismarck Symphony Orchestra in North Dakota. During her time with the BSO she took private lessons with the orchestras former principal hornist Thomas J. Porter who was a Northwestern alum and former student of Ethel Merker (the designer of Katie's horn).
In 2005 Katie returned to her undergraduate music studies at the University of Northern Colorado. At UNC she studied with horn professor Marian Hesse, and was principal horn of the brass choir and symphonic band, played in a brass quintet, and substituted as principal horn of the university orchestra and wind ensemble a few times in her last semester. Due to the cost of out-of-state tuition, Katie transferred to the University of Northern Iowa one year later in 2006.
With a huge amount of respect for Dr. Thomas Tritle while growing up, Katie was thrilled to study with him at UNI. In the Summer of 2006 Dr. Tritle nominated Katie for a teaching assistantship position under Michael Thornton (professor at CU-Boulder/principal horn Colorado Symphony) at the Rocky Ridge Music Festival. Unfortunately, Katie could not afford the cost to attend, but was honored to be offered the position.
In 2007 Dr. Tritle retired and Dr. Tina Su became the professor of horn. During this time Katie was principal horn of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra, the Wartburg Symphony Orchestra, Northern Iowa Wind Symphony, and Brass Choir. She also performed in woodwind quintet, horn quartet, and horn choir.
She loved chamber music and performed Ewazen's trio for flute, horn, and piano on her recital. Her favorite memories were of performing 4 Songs, Op. 17 by Brahms, for 2 horns, female chorus, and harp. As well, performing the solo horn in the piece Missa Kenya by Paul Basler for large choir, horn, percussion, and piano. Katie also enjoyed premiering a composition by the award-winning jazz composer Michael Conrad called Aggression for Horn and Piano.
Katie had no regrets and felt she fulfilled her dream of playing principal horn/solo horn on many bucket-list major orchestral works she never thought she would get to complete in her lifetime.
During Katie's time at UNI she received valuable feedback and guidance while seeking out private instruction, masterclasses, and workshops with Dale Clevenger, Thomas Jostlein, Bill Caballero, Elizabeth Freimuth, Michael Thompson, Jeff Agrell, David Thompson, John Ericson, John Cerminaro, Kaz Machala, and The Four Hornsmen.
In 2008/2009 Katie was a finalist in the university concerto competition, the university orchestra went on tour while performing Tchaikovsky's 5th symphony, she started visiting graduate schools, auditioned for the Chicago Civic Orchestra, and recorded a track for a band called the Midwest Hackers.
Around the same time Katie's sister (Allie) had won a 2nd trumpet position sitting next to principal trumpeter Philip Dungey (daughter Natalie Dungey also played with the orchestra) in the Northwest Symphony of Seattle.
In early 2009 Katie met Thomas Jostlein who came from the New York Philharmonic to the University of Illionis Champagne-Urbana to fulfill a professorship. Katie went to tour the campus and take a lesson. They quickly recognized and established a good rapport/teacher-student dynamic (as they both are horn geeks).
With Katie's heart set on attending the University of Illinois for graduate school, she still planned on applying and auditioning for the University of Alabama, Northwestern University, and UMKC.
However, in late 2009 the severely noticeable symptoms of Focal Embouchure Dystonia started to appear, and by early 2010 it had progressed to a point that she could no longer play. The last piece she performed was Mozart's 4th horn concerto, and the last piece she played principal horn on was Brahms Symphony No. 2. Both were difficult performances to get through. She was under immense stress, having to step down from ensembles, drop lessons, and refigure out her entire future in the blink of an eye. She had no time to process everything that was happening. Although she kept up a strong facade throughout it all, her closest professors saw through it.
In 2010 during her last semester of college Katie's horn professor and orchestra conductor wrote nomination letters to Balu Music to enter her in a contest to win a world-class horn mute. It was actually quite competitive as hundreds of professors recommendations of students were sent.
Ion Balu, the famous mute maker narrowed down his list to the top ten contestants. He decided to do a live video airing online of the final drawing, which took place on the lawn of the Washington monument while he enjoyed the sun.
He put the numbers in a glass bowl. While he went to draw the winning number, a wind gust picked up and randomly blew a tiny piece of paper directly into his hand sitting outside the bowl. Ion said, "This one must want to win. Let's see who's number it is!" The winning number was Katie's (i.e. number six).
Although this may seem like a small thing to win, the nomination was in an effort to cheer Katie up and motivate her to keep believing in her dreams and journey. When she won, Katie took it as a positive sign/omen, and that although things were looking grim, everything happens for a reason and that she was meant to take this path for a greater cause than she could comprehend at the time. She is a strong believer that there are no coincidences and that everything happens for a reason.
After graduation and unable to pursue graduate school on horn, she thought of going into Music Therapy, but after traveling to the east coast to visit one of the nations top music therapy programs, she realized it wasn't what she expected or wanted to pursue.
However, while living in her home state of North Dakota from 2011-2013, Katie started volunteering at Erik Ramstad Middle School (which was relocated to a hockey arena during a massive flood) and taught private instrumental instruction. She also taught private lessons to students at Bishop Ryan High School. She loved working with the students so much and was surprised to find she wanted to pursue teaching. During this time she also started her blog Living with Embouchure Dystonia.
COLLEGE/GRADUATE STUDIES & TEACHING CAREER
In 2013 Katie was accepted to CU-Boulder for graduate studies in instrumental music education. While at CU-Boulder she taught trumpet instruction in the CU-Middle School Ensemble, and traveled to Lyons High School, Boulder High School, and Lousiville Middle School for practicum while fulfilling coursework and holding a full-time job.
In the fall of 2015 Katie was honored to accept a full-time teaching artist and program assistant position with El Sistema Colorado (ESC); a nonprofit organization aiming to create social change in neighborhoods by bringing music education into low income schools within the Denver Public School district. ESC became one of Colorado state's top ranked arts organization in 2016.
In 2017 Katie started her own private lesson business called Berglof Music Lessons, and taught private instrumental instruction for American Music School, Taylor Robinson Music, and Music & Arts in Denver, Lakewood, and Westminster Colorado.
During this year she also participated in a Focal Embouchure Dystonia Research study overseen by Dr. Perlmutter in St. Louis, Missouri at the University of Washington.
In fall of 2019, Katie was hired at the University of Denver Newman Performing Arts Center as an Education Assistant in Community Outreach and Engagement. She got to take part in the second year trialing of implementing the Musical Explorers Program which was designed by the Carnegie Weill Foundation and Juilliard. It required collaborating and working with DPS schools and transportation, Denver-based artists, curriculum specialists, graphic designers, as well as a whole slew of other coordinating. It was challenging but very rewarding work.
During this time she unfortunately suffered from catastrophic setbacks in health and in her personal life, and she spent a great deal of time in the hospital and trying to get insurance to cover the medical costs of the surgeries and treatment she needed.
She moved to Washington state (where her twin sister resides) in January 2020 right before the pandemic hit the U.S. It was a challenging year where she received two major surgeries, lost over eighty pounds, overcame C-PTSD, and her adoptive mother passed away.
However, she found solace in recovering her health, starting a brass quintet (Hilltop Brass) with her family, playing in an orchestra (Pacific Northwest Chamber Orchestra), and starting her Musicians Dystonia and Injury Live Talk series.
She moved to Seattle in 2021 to pursue an MFA in nonprofit arts leadership with an emphasis in fundraising. She works for the Seattle Symphony Office Administration in People & Culture, and hoping to also pursue health courses/certification when she has time.
Katie has overcome many trials and tribulations throughout life. She cares deeply about helping others who have been in the same boat. It is her goal to be a founder and executive director of a performance art health organization someday; to collaborate/partner in making future arts organization or foundations that are needed; and continue supporting existing ones.
She has served on the Arts Education Partnership Advisory Council as a graduate student, completed practicum with the chamber music organization called Byron Schenkman & Friends as an Executive Assistant, interned with the Seattle Symphony Development Operations, and now an Office Administrator with the SSO in People and Culture.
Katie is a member of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the National Organization for Arts in Health, International Horn Society, the Performance Arts Medicine Association (part of the PAMA Young Professionals Committee, and passed the PAMA & Sports Medicine Health Association Essentials Course on Performance Art Health). She has formerly been a member of the National Association for Music Educators.
I don't know what God has planned for my future or if I am capable of accomplishing much for those who have suffered the loss of something indispensable to them. However, I want to give a huge thank you to my family, friends, mentors, blog readers, and musicians who have reached out to me who have continually supported, motivated, and inspired me to persevere in life and to never give up on my dreams and goals.