Biography

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 major 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.

“After working with Strauss on several occasions, I find him to be a deeply probing musician who plays with passionate commitment and virtuosity. His honesty and personal charisma garnered him immediate respect from musicians and audiences. Making music with Strauss is pure joy.” 

 — Carl St.Clair, Conductor and Music Director, Pacific Symphony

“TY Zhang and Strauss Shi individually represent the highest level of technical excellence and musicianship among the new generation of performing artists. Together they have created a first rate ensemble with the ArcoStrum. Their concert here in San Francisco was at times moving, at times brilliant, and at times thrilling, but always compelling!”

— Richard Patterson, Founder and Director, Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts

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, he takes on a leadership role in Melody of China’s community engagement activities with The LA Music Center, and serves as the Artistic Director of the North America Chinese Youth Orchestra.

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 Chinese traditional music on the erhu and gaohu, along with his classical violin training, Strauss is forging a distinctive path as a young ambassador and artist of his generation. His unique fusion of both genres resonates on international stages and festivals, affirming his role as a versatile and innovative musician.

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. Strauss plays on an 1845 Georges Chanot violin, and a modern bow by San Francisco-based bowmaker John Greenwood.

"With Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto Number 1, Shi will repeat his dazzling appearance of two years ago when he was acclaimed with a standing ovation."

 The Downey Patriot

“Strauss Shi is a brilliant and versatile violinist plus being a most charming man whose path to enjoy a magnificent career as a soloist is unquestioned.” 

— Mary Bianco, President at MOCA Foundation

“It has been my pleasure to hear Strauss Shi perform several concerts with Pacific Symphony. I was impressed by his technique, his musicality, and the way he connected with the audience.” 

— Alan Chapman, Host at Classical KUSC, Los Angeles

“...a rising star.” 

— The Late Maestro Michael Morgan (1957-2021)

Concerts

Madison-Morgan Cultural Center

Madison, GA

Music for Autism (Virtual)

New York, NY

Howland Chamber Music Circle

Beacon, NY

A Thousand Dreams

"We have an exciting collaboration this week! 'A Thousand Dreams' is a collaboration between Michael Kim-Sheng and David C. Shoults, with performances by Connie Kim-Sheng and Strauss Shi! 

This composition is a collaboration piece between David and Michael. David wrote the theme, and Michael extended the theme. Throughout the piece, the energy builds, and at its height, it slowly floats down. The theme is varied and played throughout, giving a strong sense of continuity between the different sections. This is a unique work developed between first-time collaborators from joint creative decisions. It is a meeting ground between two composers and their musical languages - one that connects and speaks of two aesthetic worlds. Melded with the fantastic performances of Connie Kim-Sheng on piano and Strauss Shi on violin, this piece is truly a unique collaborative art piece."

Scarlatti to Polyphia "Playing God"
ArcoStrum at 2023 Concert Artists Guild Finals

Ink Orchid Pavilion 水墨兰亭
ArcoStrum at 2023 Concert Artists Guild Finals

Horse Racing 赛马
ArcoStrum at 2023 Concert Artists Guild Finals

Piazzolla: Nightclub 1960
ArcoStrum at 2023 Concert Artists Guild Finals

Vivaldi Four Seasons: Winter (L'Inverno)
ArcoStrum

Horacio Fernández: Suite Latino-Americana (2020) II. João Gilberto | ArcoStrum

Chen Gang: Sunshine over Tashkurgan (1976)
featuring Melody of China

Chen Gang: Sunshine over Tashkurgan (1976) 
with Allison Freeman

Bach Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Allemanda

San Francisco Symphony
CURRENTS Episode I: Podcast
with Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board
@DiscoverLA

Debut with Downey Symphony Orchestra
2019-2020 Season

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