Trevecca announces new director of Trevecca Symphony Orchestra

Trevecca Nazarene University is excited to announce Elias Salazar as the next director of the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of Belmont University, Salazar currently serves as the director of choral and orchestral music at Ensworth School.

Dr. David Diehl, dean of Trevecca’s School of Music and Worship Arts, is excited to welcome Salazar to the Trevecca family and says Salazar will build on the legacy of Dr. Tim Cierpke, the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra’s founder and longtime director.

“Elias is an energetic and visionary conductor that I believe is a perfect fit for leading the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra into the future,” Diehl said.

Salazar was chosen after a year-long search, during which Diehl and an advising council interviewed and auditioned a number of candidates. Salazar was chosen because of his skills as a conductor and teacher, but also because of a shared vision of what a community orchestra should be, Diehl said.

“There is something about working with community and volunteer groups who are making music for the sake of music,” Salazar said. “That to me is very special. These people are showing up every week because they love music and that really appealed to me.”

Salazar was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States as a child. A pastor’s son, he grew up around music and led worship in his father’s church while still a teenager. He studied music education and trumpet performance at Belmont, earning licensure in both choral and instrumental instruction.

It was during college that Salazar “fell in love” with orchestral conducting.

“I really liked conducting when I was drum major in my high school marching band, but conducting orchestral repertoire is a different animal,” Salazar said. “I went to hear Mahler’s 2nd at the Nashville Symphony in 2011. It was the first Mahler symphony that I had ever seen or heard. I wept through most of it, and I told my buddy who was with me—who had also never heard a Mahler symphony—that that’s what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: conduct orchestras.”

Salazar is the founder and artistic director of the Nashville Collegiate Orchestra and served two years as conducting fellow with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. A talented vocalist, Salazar is a singer and lead trumpet for an eight-piece Latin band, Nashville Salsa Collective—currently on hiatus—and a member of the Portara Ensemble, a Nashville choral group comprised of professional and semi-professional singers. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Gateway Chamber Orchestra and the Advisory Board of the Nashville Singers.

Passionate about the power of music and an advocate for new composers, Salazar hopes to bring both to the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra, now in its 30th season.

“I’ve always had an immense passion for music and the art, and helping other people see the beauty in it all, and for guiding them through what it means to really make music as opposed to just playing notes and rhythm,” Salazar said. “I also have a very strong desire to expose musicians and audiences to new orchestral, classical music. I think it’s absolutely crucial to our development as a classical community that we give voices to living, and especially local, composers.”

While interested students are encouraged to participate, the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra is largely comprised of community players, from professional and semi-professional musicians to amateur players who simply want to play. There are current openings, especially in the strings section. For more information, contact

Media contact: Mandy Crow,, 615-248-1695