headshot of Julio Elizalde
Saint-Saëns: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75 - (IV. Allegro molto)


  • Graduate seminar in Chamber Music
  • Chamber Music


  • BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • MM, Juilliard School
  • DMA, Juilliard School


  • Recital partner to violinist Ray Chen (2011-present)
  • Recital partner to violinist Sarah Chang (2013-present)
  • Member of the NEW Trio (2006-present)


  • Grand Prize, Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
  • Harvard Music Association's Arthur W. Foote Prize
  • Winner, Juilliard Concerto Competition

What is your hometown?

Walnut Creek, CA

What is your favorite recording? Why?

Brahms Piano Works by Murray Perahia. It's an astonishing example of what happens when selfless artistry with complete commitment to the composer's intentions are made into sound with explosive pianistic virtuosity.

What are you passionate about outside of music?

I'm a private pilot and love to explore the cultures of the world when touring.

Who were your major teachers?

Paul Hersh, Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Robert McDonald.

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

"How do I fix this specific problem?"

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

In high school, I was lucky to be hired for a summer job at Tower Records as the assistant to the classical buyer. There, I received the most amazing education in what makes a classical recording great and I knew I had to commit my life to music.

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I'd likely be an airline pilot. I was torn between aviation in music before I decided to follow music.

What is your daily practice routine?

2-3 hours of very focused practice with quality being prioritized over quantity. Sometimes the best practice is studying away from the instrument.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

Mozart, Brahms, and Ravel.

What is your unrealized project?

To perform all of Mozart's piano concertos.

What do you think makes a concert experience unique?

The experience is unique if the performer really tries to explore a composer's music with complete devotion to their world, history, and language. Attempting to allow the music to speak for itself is the ultimate risk in performance.

Praised as a musician of "compelling artistry and power" by the Seattle Times, the gifted American pianist Julio Elizalde is a multi-faceted artist who enjoys a versatile career as soloist, chamber musician, artistic administrator, educator, and curator. He has performed in many of the major music centers throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America to popular and critical acclaim. Since 2014, he has served as the Artistic Director of the Olympic Music Festival near Seattle, Washington. Julio Elizalde has appeared with many of the leading artists of our time. He tours internationally with world-renowned violinists Sarah Chang and Ray Chen and has performed alongside conductors Itzhak Perlman, Teddy Abrams, and Anne Manson. He has collaborated with artists such as violinist Pamela Frank, composers Osvaldo Golijov and Stephen Hough, baritone William Sharp, and members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Kronos, Brentano, and Dover string quartets. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Mr. Elizalde received a bachelor of music degree with honors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Paul Hersh. He holds master’s and doctor of musical arts degrees from the Juilliard School in New York City, where he studied with Jerome Lowenthal, Joseph Kalichstein, and Robert McDonald.