Marc Élysée, DMA

Director of Orchestral Studies

Dr. Marc Élysée is Assistant Professor at Southwestern Adventist University. As Director of Orchestral Studies, he conducts the Southwestern Symphony Orchestra, teaches applied violin lessons and coaches chamber music. As music professor, his has been teaching Instrumental Conducting & Literature, Musical Form & Analysis, Music Composition, Orchestration & Arranging, and String Methods & Pedagogy, as well as Ear Training & Sight Singing.

Marc started violin lessons at age seven in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, where his parents were serving as missionaries. In 1992 he won first prize for contestants in violin under age 14 in Radio France's National Competition, Les tournois du royaume de la musique.

Following completion of a music degree at the Marc Bloch University in Strasbourg, where he studied musicology, and study on violin at the conservatories in Strasbourg and Nantes, France, Élysée moved to Montreal, Canada, in 1999, where he studied violin under Richard Roberts, concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He was a finalist in the concerto competition at the university in 2003, playing the second violin concerto by Dmitri Shostakovich. He graduated from McGill University that year with a B.Mus. in violin, cited for outstanding achievement in violin performance.

While in Montreal he was a member of a professional string quartet that was very active in promoting appreciation for music to children and teenagers in public schools and concert venues. Having given over 150 performances in the Eastern and Northern provinces of Canada, the group was nominated for the Opus Prize by the Arts Council of Quebec as having the best outreach program in 2003 and 2004 and was compensated by Jeunesses Musicales International for its work.

During his time at McGill, he also pursued conducting studies under Viennese maestro Alexis Hauser and then in 2005 studied at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestral Musicians. In 2007 he completed an M.Mus. in Instrumental Conducting at Andrews University, where he studied with Venezuelan conductor Claudio Gonzalez, taught violin and viola for the pre-college string program, and served as assistant conductor of the AU orchestra during the 2006-2007 school year.

Upon graduating from AU, Élysée accepted a position at Shenandoah Valley Academy, where in the next five years he developed a successful string and orchestra program that grew to include a sixty-piece symphony orchestra whose membership included only SVA students and faculty. They played major orchestral and choral works by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and other classical music composers as well as lighter works.

While teaching at SVA, he also served as assistant orchestra conductor at James Madison University, completing a D.M.A. in Orchestral Conducting, Music Pedagogy and Literature in July 2010. He was also invited to join Pi Kappa Lambda, national music honor society, at the time of his graduation. Following completion of his degree he was hired to teach instrumental conducting at JMU and direct its opera and musical theater orchestra in staged productions of CarmenDon GiovanniDie Fledermaus and Sweeney Todd among other works. 

A passionate music educator and dynamic conductor, Mr. Élysée is regularly invited to give clinics in high school music festivals, to direct orchestras and adjudicate music competitions. Recent engagements gave him the opportunity to work with students from the D.C. area, Maryland and Virginia, as well as Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.