Elena Ariza is a cellist from Cupertino, California and currently attends Columbia University as part of its exchange program with the Juilliard School. Featured on NPR’s From the Top in 2015, Elena performed as a soloist at Davies Symphony Hall with the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra in the same year. She is an alumna of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Pre-College as well as the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, for which she served as Principal Cellist for two years. Currently, she serves as Principal Cellist of the Columbia University Orchestra and the Columbia Pops Orchestra.

Elena has won numerous solo and concerto competitions such as the Music Teachers National Association’s California State Competition, Pacific Musical Society Annual Competition, Mondavi Young Artists Competition, and the Symphony Parnassus Concerto Competition, among others. She has played in masterclasses led by David Finckel, Ronald Leonard, Colin Carr, Robert deMaine, and Bonnie Hampton, and has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute, the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival and School, and the Tanglewood Music Center.

In 2011, Elena helped raise more than $12,000 through three charity concerts that she and her friends organized in the San Francisco Bay Area, in order to help the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Since then, she has performed in several concerts to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Japanese Red Cross, Global Giving, and the Transparent Fish Fund.

At Columbia University, Elena is currently pursuing a computer science major and studies under the tutelage of Astrid Schween at Juilliard. In her spare time, she enjoys paper crafting and playing chamber music with her violinist brother and her mother, a pianist.