Chinese-American violinist Strauss Shi is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting multi-instrumental artists today representing music of the east and west. Praised by American conductor Carl St.Clair as “a deeply probing musician who plays with passionate commitment and virtuosity” and a “rising star” by the late Maestro Michael Morgan, Strauss made his major debut with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Vladimir Kulenovic at the age of seventeen and has since then concertized in the United States, Europe and Asia. Strauss is a top prizewinner at numerous competitions including Gold Medal at the 3rd Berliner International Music Competition (2019), First Prize at the USC Thornton Concerto Competition (2018), Grand Prize at the Mondavi Center Young Artists Competition (2017), First Prize at the United States International Music Competition (2016), and Second Prize at the inaugural Siqing Lu Futian International Violin Competition (2016), among others.
Recent solo appearances include USC Thornton Symphony and Andrés Cárdenes, Downey Symphony Orchestra and Sharon Lavery across two seasons, Chamber Music Society of Colombo with Midori, and his debut with the Pacific Symphony at the invitation of Carl St.Clair in their Summer Series “Symphony in the Cities” in Mission Viejo, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Musco Center, and Irvine across 10,000+ audiences to major acclaim. Recital highlights include sold-out debuts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
As a chamber musician, Strauss has shared international stages with world renowned artists including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Midori, Lü Siqing, Kala Ramnath, Balla Kouyaté, Abeer Nehme, Carol Wincenc, Li Lin, Brian Lewis, Vera Tsu Wei-ling, and Qian Zhou. His festival appearances include Silkroad Global Musician Workshop, Kneisel Hall, Heifetz Institute, and Juilliard Starling-DeLay Symposium. Strauss is a founding member of the Monterey Piano Trio with Ben Fried and Connie Kim-Sheng, and within months of the trio’s formation, they were invited as an Ensemble-in-Residence at the Heifetz Institute and has performed throughout the Los Angeles area to much acclaim. Strauss also closely collaborates and shares the stage as a rising duo with concert guitarist Tengyue (TY) Zhang ever since their roommate days traveling for outreach at Juilliard.
Strauss has established himself as a long-time educator of the violin and traditional Chinese instruments: Erhu, Gaohu, Guzheng, Yangqin, Dizi in many non-profit music organizations, youth orchestras, community outreach fellowships, and his own private teaching studio in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Los Angeles. Currently, Strauss is on the Faculty Artist roster at the Music Center on Tour, Fried Music and their Pre-College Program. Previous teaching engagements include Kneisel Hall Adult Chamber Music Institute, Midori Violin Studio Project (Los Angeles and Sri Lanka), Gluck Community Service Fellowship Program (The Juilliard School), Xiamen University (China), Purple Silk Music Education Foundation (Oakland), San Francisco Guzheng Music Society, Melody of China Workshop (San Francisco), Chinese Arts and Music Center (San Francisco), and San Francisco Symphony’s Adventures in Music (AIM).
Prior to the violin, his early years as a young boy were spent studying and performing on traditional Chinese instruments, the erhu and gaohu, with his acclaimed family ensemble the Melody of China. Strauss has received significant mentorship with the Melody of China, and continues to appear with the ensemble across major venues and festivals, including S.F. International Arts Festival, The Juilliard School, Davies Symphony Hall, and the San Francisco Herbst Theatre where he made his debut at age 8. With deep musical roots in his Chinese instrumental folk music on the erhu/gaohu and as a classically-trained violinist, Strauss is paving his way as a young ambassador and artist combining both genres on international stages and festivals.
Born in China and raised in San Francisco, Strauss began his violin studies at the age of eight with Pan Zuohan, Elizabeth Liang, and later studied with Chen Zhao. Strauss earned his Bachelor’s degree studying with Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School on full scholarship. He recently graduated and obtained his Master’s degree as a Starling Fellow from the USC Thornton School of Music under Midori Goto and Pamela Frank.