can play the violin like it's an extension of his
body, and he
has the calluses to prove it.On Sept. 3,4, Elias, Mesa State College director of strings and orchestra, will perform a lengthy and difficult solo in his home country of El Salvador with the El Salvador National Symphony Orchestra.
"It's good for me to go back.That's the country that saw me grow up, gave me my start in music," he
said.The solo in "Symphonie Espagnole" that Elias was invited to perform in San Salvador's El Teatro Presidente (the Presidential Theater) is by French composer Edouard Lalo, written in 1874.
has been preparing for the solo since the beginning of the year and has never performed it with a live orchestra.
"It's a challenge I set out for myself when I picked it," he
said. Elias was born in El Salvador and lived there until he was 18 and offered the opportunity to attend Biola University in California on a full scholarship.He
was 16 when he
began playing with the El Salvador national orchestra.He played with the group for three years and again briefly after he finished his undergraduate degree.
"I was one of the youngest," he
In returning to El Salvador to play with the national symphony, Elias
feels like a Salvadoran who has gone abroad and returned and made a musical contribution to his
is still a citizen of El Salvador.He
was not born to play the violin, Elias
At 5 years old, he
chose to play the cello because it seemed "macho" and bigger than the violin.But a school mate of his
cried because she
wanted to play the cello, so he
reluctantly traded his
cello for her
That same classmate now performs with the national symphony, he
And who knows, "maybe I would have quit," he
said, if he
had held onto that cello.Elias received his bachelor's degree in violin performance from Biola University, his master's degree from the University of Cincinnati and an artist diploma from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, he said.He's been at Mesa State since 1999 and serves as concertmaster with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra.In the fall he will become the new director of Symphony in the Valley in Glenwood Springs.