Society of Peabody Alumni
Citation for the Johns Hopkins University Outstanding Recent Graduate Award
November 2, 2013
Michael Straus, upon receiving your Master of Music degrees in saxophone performance and computer music from Peabody, you have quickly gained notoriety as a performer, improviser, musical collaborator and arts organizer.
Your entrepreneurial creativity and devotion to inventive new music is evident through the vast number of your current projects many of which incorporate dancers, visual artists, instrument builders and electroacoustic composers in addition to musicians. From founding the multimedia performance project, “What are you looking at?” and performing in many chamber ensembles, including EAR Duo, Moonrise Hernandez and Portals of Distortion, to your work with new technology like the Sensor Ogmented Saxophone and the Monochord-Aerophone Robotic Instrument Ensemble, you stand at the forefront of musical innovation.
Your performance career has taken you around the world, having been a featured artist in venues from Belgium to New York, Berlin to Washington D.C, and your work as a performer, composer and improviser can be heard on multiple recording labels.
As an educator, your expertise and enthusiasm have been recognized by leading universities around the world, including Yale, MIT, Amsterdam’s STEIN and the Oberlin Conservatory, where you are now Assistant Dean of Technology and Facilities. With a Fulbright Fellowship, an American-Scandinavian Foundation Creative Arts Grant, an American Composers Forum Encore Grant, among others, it is clear that your ingenuity and constant eye to the future are appreciated.
In only six years since graduating from Peabody, you have established yourself as a “force to be reckoned with in the field of experimental music.” Your dedication, devotion and drive to further your art form make you more than an outstanding musician, but an outstanding artist and thinker.
The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association proudly confers upon you the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.