Melissa Angel Straus, double bass, performs reguarly with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony and other professional orchestras throughout Michigan. Although her international performances span from Vienna, Austria, to Mexicali, Mexico, Melissa makes Michigan her home, where she co-founded the Mackinac Island Community Foundation Summer Concert Series, which is in its eighth year running.
An avid soloist and recitalist, she has performed on faculty recitals at Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Alma College and Hope College as well as contemporary venues such as LadyFest. She is the lower half of Extreme Duality, a flute/bass duo that regularly premieres works of living composers and recently recorded Murray Gross’ Spring Fever.
Melissa received her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at Michigan State University in 2003, where she studied with the highly respected Jack Budrow. While at MSU, Melissa also studied ethnomusicology with Dr. Michael Largey, completing the coursework for a Master of Arts in ethnomusicology. She used ethnographic research methods in her DMA document to study the relationship of a regional orchestra to its local culture, and recently presented her research at an international conference at the University of London. She is the author of “An American Regional Orchestra in the Twenty-First Century: Beethoven, Harleys, and Social Justice.”
While earning her Master of Music Degree in double bass performance at the University of Minnesota in 1996, Melissa studied and worked with some of the world-renowned musicians of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. From 1995 to 1999 Melissa was principal double bass with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and from 1996 to 1999, faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
Melissa’s love for teaching has its roots in her undergraduate work at Arizona State University, where she studied with Dr. Dan Swaim, one of the authors of the Suzuki Method for double bass. She currently teaches at Hope College and Alma College.