Eric Salas

With the PSO since: 2007
Lives in: Hampton, NH

At what age did you start playing the instrument you play in the PSO?

Did you learn another instrument first? If so, which one?
100% pure violist.

Why did you choose your current instrument?
Funny story–when I registered for my first orchestra class in Junior High and was asked what instrument I played, I had no answer since I hadn’t had an opportunity to play up to that point. I told the orchestra teacher that I wanted to learn to play the violin. She informed me that all the violins had already been checked out and all that was left were violas, cellos and string basses. I had no idea what a viola was but knew what a cello and bass were and wasn’t interested in hauling either of those instruments up the huge hill to get to school in a Colorado winter. I asked what a viola was and the teacher said, “it’s like a violin but bigger.” I said, “I’ll take it,” and the rest is history. Fate? You decide.

What do you like about playing with a symphony orchestra?
I love the challenge and reward of playing in an orchestra. The challenge is being an individual contributor to a larger organism. Not only does one have to be able to play their individual part, that part then has to fit in with all the others that are playing at the same time. The reward is when all those pieces finally fit together like a beautiful sonic puzzle. A puzzle that has the power to evoke the full gamut of human emotion from yourself and the audience.

What is your favorite piece to play on your instrument?
J.S. Bach’s Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 3 in G minor.

How do you spend your time outside of the PSO?
I love outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. I also like to cook for family and friends, become immersed in a good book or just chill on the couch.

Tell us about your musical education.
Studied with Tania Maxwell Clements at Georgia State University and received a undergraduate degree in viola performance.

Beyond musician, do you serve in any additional role(s) with the PSO? 
I currently sit on PSO Board as a member of the Orchestra Committee.