Below is my formal biography, but the hidden truth is that I started learning music as a beginner band student in a public school in Texas. Flashback to 2001. I was 11 years old and I wanted to play the oboe, because it reminded me of a snake charmer. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) my parents didn't like how expensive the reeds were, so after 4 weeks they told my band director to switch me to a "cheaper" instrument!
I never knew that music was going to make such a huge impact on my life.
My work represents every teacher that has invested their time and efforts into my education. My progress represents every hour of my life that I've spent in the practice room, #SoulSearchingSince2001. My experience represents every financial, familial, and emotional sacrifice that I've ever had to make in order to achieve my dreams.
I've always taken my career very seriously. Perhaps, too seriously. I still have much to learn! I am very proud of my journey, and I hope to be a living example of what is possible when you overcome self-doubt with patience and hard work! Music is my passion, my calling, my fuel for living, and if you'd like to know who I really am, ask the most important woman in my life - my mom <3 Or check out my blog!
First beginner band photo, 2001.
The good ol' days, 2002.
Earning a bronze medal at the Texas State Marching Band Contest in San Antonio, Texas, 2004.
First beginner band photo, 2001.
Mexican-American clarinetist Elias Rodriguez is praised for his "smooth acrobatic tone, fierce finesse" and "virtuoso dynamics" (The Millbrook Independent - New York). Since performing Carl Maria von Weber's clarinet concerto on National Public Radio at the age of 16 (NPR’s "From the Top"), and being named "the state's top clarinetist" (Texas Monthly), Elias has expanded his repertoire to include anything from classical to jazz, folk, jewish klezmer, and even his own improvisations and musical arrangements. Elias has performed internationally throughout the Americas and Europe, including concerts on New York's WQXR as a concerto soloist with The Orchestra Now, a New York based ensemble with which he toured and performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. From 2021-2022, Elias had the privilege of touring the United States and recording with the American wind quintet, WindSync (gold medalists of the international Concert Artists Guild competition for artist management) as well as performing in Nu Deco Ensemble, a"chamber orchestra for the 21st century” (The New York Times) founded by Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken.
Elias is a recipient of the 2018 Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship, which granted him an artist residency at La Fondation des États-Unis in Paris, France. As an artist-in-residence for 3 years, Elias performed solo and chamber music in bi-weekly recital series, including performances with the French ensemble, "Calliopée," and Maurice Ravel’s « Kaddish » for the Israeli and American Ambassador to France, in a commemorative ceremony at the United States Embassy in Paris. In 2021, Elias was the only American of 8 semi-finalists for the international bass clarinet vacancy in the Opera Orchestra of Montpellier (France).
Elias has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at festivals and series across the globe, including the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, Le Domaine Forget (Quebec), the Orchestra of the Americas (Eastern Canada Tour), the Banff Centre (Canada), the Grafenegg Festival (Austria), the Bard Music Festival (New York), Bard Music Colombia (Cali), Orchestre de la Francophonie (Montreal), the Vermont Mozart Festival (USA), the Nevada Chamber Music Festival, and the Fontainebleau American School of the Arts (France), among others. He has performed as a soloist alongside artists like Christopher O’ Riley, Carol Wincenc, Mark O’ Connor, and Martin Beaver of the Tokyo String Quartet.
As an educator, Elias has taught at various institutions in the United States, Canada, and Colombia, among which stands out his role as Associate Director of Bands for Mesquite Independent School District in Mesquite, Texas. His training include lessons with Pavel Vinnitsky and Pascual Martínez-Forteza of the New York Philharmonic and the New York Metropolitan Opera, and three years of study in Paris with Patrick Messina and Jean-Marc Volta (bass clarinet) of the National Orchestra of France. In 2021, Elias was one of 3 international students selected to study under Sharon Kam, at the Saline Royale Academy in Arc-en-Senans, France.
A native of Duncanville, Texas (USA), Elias has roots in Coahuila, Mexico, where he has an extended family of recording artists. Elias' family members can be heard on The Voice Germany, The Voice Azteca, and at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Future projects include a duo concert alongside his uncle, Mexican singer and actor, Pablo Montero.
Elias has a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baylor University (Waco, Texas), Master’s degrees in Music from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Bard College (New York), and a "Diplôme supérieur d'exécution" from the École Normale de Musique in Paris, where he received a prize in chamber music by unanimous vote.
Elias is a fluent English, Spanish, and French speaker.
Hear 16 year old Elias squeak and make people laugh on National Public Radio.
Time travel 20 years ago.
Listen to an interview I did during my second year in Paris.