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Mathias Elmer

Mathias Elmer, Director of Orchestral Activities

Mathias Elmer, Director of Orchestral Activities
Mathias Elmer, Director of Orchestral Activities

School of Performing Arts
242S Squires Student Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-8501 |

Mathias Elmer, a native of Switzerland, is the Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Prior to this position, he served as Director of Orchestral Activities at Connecticut College in New London and at the University of Memphis Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. In 2017, he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Memphis under Maestro Pu-Qi Jiang. Further studies in conducting led Dr. Elmer to Michael Stern (USA), Karl Anton Rickenbacher and Johannes Schlaefli (Switzerland), and Mark Ensley (USA), among others.

Elmer received his master’s degree in orchestral and operatic conducting at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts School of Music in Switzerland under Maestro Ralf Weikert. Elmer was Music Director of the Orchestra con brio in Glarus, Switzerland, a post he held for eight years. Between 2002 and 2014, he served as founding member and trumpet player of the professional brass quintet Philharmonic Brass Zurich–Generell5. Throughout Switzerland, Elmer is sought after as a wind band festival adjudicator, and from 2009 to 2014, he taught for the Zurich Music Association as a member of the conducting faculty.

Together with his colleague Kevin Sütterlin, Elmer is Co-Music Director and founder of Sinfonietta Memphis, a Tennessee-based chamber orchestra focusing on historically informed performances of music by Viennese Classical composers. Another focus of his work as a conductor is his passion for works by underrepresented composers, and he has led seminars and given lectures on how to incorporate this repertoire into a University orchestra concert program. Elmer has performed music by Florence Price, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, Louise Farrenc, as well as pieces by living American composers, including Scott Hines from Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Elmer is the winner of The American Prize in Conducting in the College/University Orchestra division for 2017/2018.

  • Orchestral Conducting
  • History of Conducting
  • Ensemble Direction from 1500 to 1800
  • Viennese Classical Composers
  • Historically Informed Performance Practice
  • DMA in Orchestral Conducting, University of Memphis, 2017
  • MM in Orchestral and Opera Conducting, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland, 2011
  • CAS in Orchestral Conducting, Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland, 2007
  • BM in Trumpet & Teaching Diploma Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland, 2004
  • Founding Co-Music Director Sinfonietta Memphis
  • Co-Artistic Director The Sinfonietta Academy for Historically Informed Performance Practice
  • Winner of the American Prize in Orchestral Conducting, College/University Division 2017-18
  • Recipient of the Arts Award 2018 of Canton Glarus - Switzerland, 2017
  • Creative Achievement and Performance Award, University of Memphis, 2017
  • The American Prize in Conducting, Semi-Finalist, Orchestra Division 2016-17
  • International Research Scholarship, University of Memphis, 2015
  • Honorary Stipend, Sichuan Conservatory of Music, Chengdu, China, 2015