Elias Salazar is a Venezuelan American conductor residing in Nashville, Tennessee. He recently served as Artistic Director and Conductor of the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra, the Belmont University Opera, and the Nashville Collegiate Orchestra. In his time since entering the conducting spotlight in Nashville, he has appeared with numerous community ensembles and captured audiences' attention with his "precision, clarity, energy, and passion" on the podium.
Salazar is the Director of Choral and Orchestral Music at Ensworth School where he directs three ensembles and also teaches music theory, musicology, and directs the music for the musicals. He served as the Repertoire and Resources Chair for Contemporary Music on the board of the Tennessee American Choral Directors Association for three years and is currently on the Leadership and Action Council for the Nashville Singers. Salazar is a vocalist with the Nashville vocal group, Portara Ensemble, which has recently been featured at the 2017 CMA Awards and the 2018 CMA Country Christmas program and performed with several GRAMMY-winning artists.
Salazar served as Conducting Fellow with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra for two seasons starting in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Norton. Salazar served for three years on the Board of Directors for the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. He has also served as principal conductor for the Nashville Cinematic Symphony, which focuses on performing and recording film music. From 2014-2016, Salazar played lead trumpet and was a vocalist with the 8-piece Latin band, Nashville Salsa Collective, which was led by Bill Alexson.
During the 2013-2014 season, Salazar served as the Interim Music Director for Music City Youth Orchestra, leading the top ensemble in rehearsals and performances throughout the season.
Salazar has had previous engagements conducting the Murfreesboro Symphony Orchestra (now named the Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra) and Chorus as well as Belmont University's Symphony Orchestra, Chamber String Orchestra, Opera Theatre, Concert Band, Women's Choir, and Chamber Singers. During his undergraduate career at Belmont University, he studied conducting under Drs. Jeffery Ames, Robert Gregg, Barry Kraus, and Jane Warren. He also studied trumpet with Dr. Joel Treybig. Elias double-majored in Music Education with choral and instrumental emphasis and Classical Performance with a trumpet emphasis. He has also studied conducting with former Music Director of the Nashville Symphony Chorus and Artistic Director of Intersection, Kelly Corcoran.
Salazar has always had a passion for conducting and education and will continue pursuing his career leading groups of all shapes and sizes. His passion for music, both vocal and instrumental as well as classical and contemporary, drives him to strive for excellence in his technique, preparation, interpretation, and performances. His dream is to lead world-class ensembles and to inspire people around the globe through high-quality, exciting performances.
Elias undertook a large project in the Nashville area during the summer of 2013 to form an orchestra comprised of college-aged musicians in Middle Tennessee. He and his newly formed Nashville Collegiate Orchestra made up of over 50 musicians have been featured in publications such as the Nashville Arts Magazine and have gained much attention in the community. Elias and the NCO have also been featured in Where Are We Now?, a blog about classical and contemporary music in the 21st Century. Their debut concert was a huge success, and each summer concert has grown in ambition and quality. The organization has since added a chorus to perform symphonic choral literature with the orchestra. Learn more in the "NCO" tab a the top of the screen!
Elias constantly seeks to collaborate with composers. He has commissioned fourteen original works in the past six years, and continues to look for opportunities to advance music. He frequently offers opportunities for composers to hear their orchestral projects as well as to receive critical feedback from the ensembles he directs. He has collaborated with composers Benjamin Chakoian Jones, Deen Entsminger, Jim Aveni, Michael Quintana, Rusty Jernigan, Patrick Dunnevant, Ian Good, and more.
"One of the most intelligent and inspiring young conductors on the Nashville scene today. His passion and professionalism are contagious.”
- Bill Alexson