Strauss Shi

Communication and Creative Director
Violin and Erhu

Chinese-American violinist Strauss Shi made his major debut with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Vladimir Kulenovic at the age of seventeen and since then, he has concertized in the United States, China and Europe. 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.

Amidst the pandemic in 2020, Strauss is appointed Communication and Creative Director of the Melody of China and has founded his own startup company, Blue Cherry Productions LLC. The company space is based in East Los Angeles, in the heart of La Puente, and currently provides Chinese and Western musical instruments and education, with an emphasis on multimedia productions in future developments. Strauss currently runs a weekly show on his YouTube Channel, which explores and documents his unique insights into the life of a 21st-century classical musician.

In the 2019-2020 season, Strauss makes his solo debut with the Downey Symphony Orchestra and Sharon Lavery in their opening subscription concert, along with chamber appearances with the Immaculata Chamber Music Series and American Contemporary Ballet. Additional creative multimedia projects include speaking on San Francisco Symphony’s CURRENTS Podcast with conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser and a special collaboration with the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board in their Wuhan Campaign Video, which garnered over 2 million views across Weibo, Instagram, and Tencent. Highlights from the 2018-29 season include making his solo debut with the USC Thornton Symphony and Andrés Cárdenes and a solo tour with the Pacific Symphony with Carl St. Clair in “Symphony in the Cities” in Mission Viejo, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Musco Center, and Irvine for over 10,000 audiences. Recital engagements include his sold-out San Francisco debut recitals at the Noontime Concerts Series and San Francisco Conservatory of Music with pianist Yi-Fang Wu, USC Graduation Recital and pianist Alin Melik-Adamyan, recitals with concert guitarist Tengyue (TY) Zhang, full performances of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, and Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 with conductor Emmanuel Rojas and Friends at USC. Highlights from the 2017-18 season include his solo debut with the Chamber Music Society of Colombo (Sri Lanka), Midori Violin Studio Recital Series, Los Angeles recital debut at the Pasadena City College Westerbeck Hall, recitals at the 2017 Juilliard Starling-DeLay Symposium, and his Juilliard Graduation Recital featuring the Melody of China Ensemble and the premiere of Mary Bianco’s For Strauss Shi (2016).

Strauss has performed with world renowned artists, sharing the stage with Shmuel Ashkenasi Midori Goto, Lü Siqing, Carol Wincenc, Li Lin, Brian Lewis, Vera Tsu Wei-ling, and Qian Zhou. His festival appearances include Immaculata Chamber Music Series, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Shenzhen Futian Festival, Foulger Festival, U.S. International Music Festival, and has appeared in Lincoln Center, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kaufman Merkin Concert Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Munich Gasteig, and Berlin Philharmonie. Over the years, he has worked under the guidance of pianist Robert McDonald, guitarist Sharon Isbin and Martha Masters, violist Kim Kashkashian and Paul Neubauer, violinist Miriam Fried, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Joel Smirnoff, Li Lin, David and Linda Cerone, Ilya Kaler, Elmar Oliveira, and Wang Zhenshan.

A longtime advocate of community outreach, Strauss participated in the week-long 2018 Midori Violin Studio Project, where he performed in studio recitals, community concerts and workshops in nursing homes, local schools, and institutions in North and South Sri Lanka. Additionally, through Juilliard, Strauss was a member of the Gluck Community Service Fellowship Program where his string ensemble performed in metropolitan hospitals and health care facilities across New York City. Strauss has appeared as guest teaching artist at the Xiamen University (Fujian, China) and C’est Bon Chamber Music Academy (Los Altos, California).

In addition to his violin career, Strauss is an active Erhu and Gaohu solo artist. He is a Gold prizewinner at the 7th Silicon Valley International Art Competition (2012) and Huain Cup International Competition (2010), and has been invited to perform at the 2017 S.F. International Arts Festival with the Melody of China and Maestro Swapan Chaudhuri, S.F. Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, and Chinatown Music Festival in venues including Juilliard Paul Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, Herbst Theatre, Fort Mason, Chinatown Chinese Cultural Center, SF Main Library, SF Conservatory of Music, University of SF, and Oakland Laney College. Strauss began his erhu and gaohu studies at the age of six with his parents at the San Francisco Chinese Arts and Music Center, and later studied under renowned gaohu soloist Yu Qiwei in Hong Kong. He first gained attention at the age of seven, performing Horse Racing at San Francisco Herbst Theatre. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003, Strauss continues to perform and bring Chinese music to the multi-cultural community with the Melody of China, San Francisco Guzheng Music Society, and Purple Silk Music Education Foundation in their educational workshops, fundraiser concerts, and annual concerts across the Bay Area.

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 with Chen Zhao. Strauss received his Bachelor of Music degree studying with Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School on full scholarship. He recently graduated and obtained his Master of Music degree as a Starling Fellow at the USC Thornton School of Music under Midori Goto and Pamela Frank.