Strauss Shi

Violin, Erhu, Dizi
The Juilliard School, B.M.
USC Thornton School of Music, M.M.

Chinese-American violinist Strauss Shi is rapidly establishing himself as one of today’s most exciting multi-instrumental artists representing music of the East and West. At the age of seventeen, Strauss made his solo debut with the Utah Symphony under the baton of Vladimir Kulenovic, and since then has garnered top prizes and acclaims in the United States, Europe and Asia. Most recently, Strauss and guitarist TY Zhang have been awarded the Winner and Audience Prize at the 2023 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition in New York as ArcoStrum, becoming the first-ever violin-guitar duo to win in its competition’s 72-year history.

Strauss’s major solo prizes include 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.

The 2023/2024 Season include exciting concert debuts and community engagements with TY Zhang as ArcoStrum. Director Richard Patterson of the Omni Foundation lauded ArcoStrum as a “first rate ensemble of the highest level of technical excellence and musicianship among the new generation of performing artists.” ArcoStrum’s 2022/2023 Season included acclaimed debuts at the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts, Festival Cultural Zacatecas (Mexico), National Sawdust, Austin Chamber Music Festival, and Caramoor.

As a soloist, Strauss has made his debuts with the Utah Symphony, USC Thornton Symphony, Downey Symphony Orchestra across two seasons, Chamber Music Society of Colombo alongside Midori, and a solo tour with the Pacific Symphony at the invitation of conductor 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. His 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, Li Lin, Brian Lewis, Vera Tsu Wei-ling, Qian Zhou, and members of the Silkroad Ensemble. His festival and concert series appearances encompass prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall Citywide, Caramoor, Austin Chamber Music Festival, Kneisel Hall, Heifetz International Music Institute, Silkroad Global Musician Workshop, and Juilliard Starling-DeLay Symposium. Strauss is the founding violinist of ArcoStrum alongside guitarist TY Zhang. ArcoStrum became the first-ever violin-guitar duo to win the 2023 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition and its Audience Prize, subsequently securing management representation with CAG. Strauss is also the founding violinist of the Monterey Piano Trio with cellist Ben Fried and pianist Connie Kim-Sheng. The Trio were invited as an Ensemble-in-Residence at the Heifetz International Music Institute in 2022.

Strauss has distinguished himself as a dedicated educator, imparting his expertise in both the violin and the Chinese instruments such as Erhu, Gaohu, Dizi, Guzheng, and Yangqin. He has given masterclasses and workshops as a guest artist in various non-profit music organizations, community engagement programs, universities, and music festivals. His educational outreach spans the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Maine, Mexico, and China. Currently, Strauss maintains a teaching studio as violin faculty of Fried Music and their Pre-College Program in Alhambra. Additionally, his arts leadership roles include leading Melody of China’s community engagement activities with The LA Music Center, serving as the current Artistic Director of the North America Chinese Youth Orchestra, and serving as a board member of the Asian-American Music Artists Alliance.

Before delving into the world of violin, Strauss’s early years were marked by a dedicated exploration of Chinese instruments. His musical journey began with the erhu and gaohu, showcasing his talent within his renowned family ensemble, the Melody of China. Strauss continues to captivate audiences with the Melody of China at prominent venues and festivals, including the Disney California Adventure Lunar New Year, Montana Folk Festival, S.F. International Arts Festival, The Juilliard School, Davies Symphony Hall, and San Francisco Herbst Theatre where he made his erhu debut at age 8. With deep musical roots in his Chinese traditional music on the erhu/gaohu and as a classically-trained violinist, Strauss is paving his way as a young ambassador and multi-instrumental 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 Zuohan Pan, Elizabeth Liang, and later continued his studies with Chen Zhao. Strauss earned his Bachelor’s degree studying with Catherine Cho at The Juilliard School on full scholarship. He graduated and obtained his Master’s degree as a Starling Fellow from the USC Thornton School of Music under Midori Goto and Pamela Frank. Strauss plays on a violin made by Georges Chanot c. 1845, and a modern bow by John Greenwood.

Yangqin Zhao
Executive and Artistic Director
(415) 215-7581

Mailing Address:
Yangqin Zhao
450A 2nd Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

© Melody of China 2022