While growing up in Ely, Eli studied violin and fiddle with Helena Pakola between the ages of 8-17. This included Suzuki studies, traditional Classical training, and touring internationally with a Scandinavian folk group called the Singing Strings. Notable tour destinations with the Singing Strings included Finland and the White House. Eli earned his undergraduate degree in Violin Performance from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2002. His collegiate training included Classical solo repertoire, chamber music, and jazz. His college instructor, Young-Nam Kim, serves as artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota. In 2002, in collaboration with Young-Nam and CMSM, Eli co-founded the Northern Lights Chamber Music Institute. NCLMI brings together world-class string faculty, who coach advanced high school and college players in the art of chamber music. Since graduation, Eli has recorded and toured nationally with a regional record label, and spent a year studying Nordic Folk Music styles in Finland. Regionally he performs and/or records with The Hot Club of Duluth, Rich Mattson and The Northstars, Whirled Muse, Tava, Sonja Bjordal, and others. He teaches and performs in numerous playing styles: Nordic, Celtic, Folk, Rock, Classical, Old-Timey, and Jazz.
With over 12 years of experience instructing students ranging broadly in age and ability, Eli sees teaching the violin/fiddle/viola as a true calling in life. As a certified professional coach, he values translating the learning process in ways that are uniquely relevant for individual students. He's able and willing to teach beginner, intermediate, and advanced players.