Cellist Elena Ariza has amassed numerous competition wins and concerto appearances since she began playing cello at age four. She is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma at The Juilliard School, and previously received her Masters of Music from Juilliard and a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University majoring in computer science, as part of its exchange program with Juilliard.
Most recently, Elena organized and raised over $7,000 for Ukraine through a benefit cello recital partnered with the Mountain View Japanese Seventh-day Church. She also participated in the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, playing with Itzhak Perlman, and attended the Domaine Forget de Charlevoix Festival in Quebec during the summer of 2022. Elena won 1st prize at the 2022 Gustav Mahler Prize Cello Competition, 1st prize at the 2022 Philharmonic Society of Arlington Young Artist Competition, and was a finalist in both the 2021 and 2019 Juilliard Concerto Competition. She participated in the Taos School of Music during the summer of 2021, and subsequently toured through Utah and Nevada, performing fundraising concerts for the Haitian earthquake with her long-time collaborator, pianist Misha Galant.
While an undergrad at Columbia, she performed the Dvorak Concerto with the Columbia University Orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Milarsky. In 2018, she gave a world premiere performance of composer Hiroya Miura’s Lustral Shades, collaborating with esteemed musicians of the Japanese tradition. In 2017, she was invited to perform as part of the New World Symphony on one of its season concerts, under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. Featured on NPR’s From the Top in 2015, Elena also performed as a soloist at Davies Symphony Hall with the San Francisco Symphony Youth 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 received various masterclasses and coachings from Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Philippe Muller, David Finckel, Joseph Kalichstein, Roger Tapping, the Weilerstein Trio, Colin Carr, Paul Katz, the Borromeo, Shanghai, and Brentano Quartets, and has attended the Aspen Music Festival and School, Music@Menlo Chamber Music Festival and Institute, the Tanglewood Music Center, Vivac-e!, the Taos School of Music, the Perlman Music Program Chamber Music Workshop, and Le Domaine Forget International Music Festival in Charlevoix, Quebec.
A keen advocate of community giving ever since the magnitude 9.1 Japanese earthquake in 2011, she has performed in and organized several concerts to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Japanese Red Cross, Global Giving, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and the Transparent Fish Fund. She has led and performed for community engagement workshops at Malcolm X Academy in SF, Mott Hall II Middle School as part of Lyric Chamber Society’s Classicool project, among others.
At Juilliard, Elena is currently studying under the tutelage of Astrid Schween and Joel Krosnick. Her former teachers and mentors include Richard Aaron, Ronald Leonard, Eric Sung, and Sieun Lin.
In her spare time, she enjoys paper crafting and playing chamber music with her violinist brother and her mother, a pianist.