Michelle Gribbon, director of Sound of Strings, has been a classical violin and piano teacher since 1977, starting as a sophomore in high school, and has owned and directed the Sound of Strings Music School since 1989 in both TX and MN. She was a full scholarship student in both undergraduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS), and also as a double master student in violin performance and piano accompanying at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, TX.
She has been in T.V. and radio commercials, performed in music ensembles ranging from The Dallas Opera, The SMU Graduate String Quartet, and countless symphonies and chamber ensembles in Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. She was the rehearsal pianist for Emmanuel Borok – the concertmaster of The Dallas Symphony, as well as faculty and students at SMU, UWS and other Universities, and has studied with teachers as famous as Erick Friedman – prize student of Jascha Heifetz.
She has directed and written musical and theatrical productions, is an extremely active music arranger, and has won music competitions at the local, state and national levels. She is a member of the American String Teacher Association (ASTA) and it’s Minnesota chapter – MNSOTA, and the American Federation of Musicians Union.
Her teaching, accompanying and music arrangements have been praised locally and internationally, and after she opened her Sound of Strings Music School in 1989 in Dallas, TX, her former teacher at SMU, Erick Friedman, said of Michelle:”…I can think of no one more qualified than you, both as an extraordinarily and equally accomplished violinist and pianist. Dallas should be indebted. You are a reflection of the important musicians and pedagogues of the past….”
Since moving to Minnesota in 1997, she has had a strong commitment to musical enrichment for Northern Minnesota and abroad by performing and directing over 200 school and community outreach programs. She teaches that music is to be shared and used as a bridge between ages, cultures and musical backgrounds and she has a reputation for life enriching musical projects for students and adults in Sound of Strings music programs.
Sound of Strings Ensembles have performed at Sommerfest – Macy’s Day of Music at Peavy Plaza/Orchestra Hall, Land of the Loon Ethnic Festival, as Guest Soloists with the UWS Chamber Orchestra, events for The Northland Foundation, The United Way, Mesabi Range College Foundation and FinnFest 2008 among many other events. They were chosen to be a recipient music program through UPbeat Greater Minnesota that included three interactions with the Minnesota Orchestra – including performing for The Minnesota Orchestra and it’s director Osmo Vanska and a masterclass in Orchestra Hall.
Other masterclasses of note have been at The Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland, The Royal Holloway, University of London, England, and at Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria with the Principle Cellist of The Vienna Philharmonic.
International Music & Education Trips to England (2001), Quebec City, Canada (2003), Moscow, Russia (2005), Austria & Germany (2006), and Finland (2011), were a special opportunity for Sound of Strings students to expand their knowledge of the world through musical cultures, and their own personal growth in a unique mixture of practice, performance, cultural exchange and interaction with students and teachers in historic and iconic locations such as Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria, PetersKirche, Vienna, Austria, Melk Abby Baroque Pavillion, Melk, Austria, Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany, Temppeliaukion Kirkko (Church on the Rock), Helsinki, Finland, Toolon Kirkossa, Helsinki, Finland, Finchcock’s Living Museum of Music, Goudhurst, Kent, England, St. John’s Smith Square Concert Hall, Westminster, London, England, Jesus Chapel, Cambridge, England, The National Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec City, Canada, The Quebec Parliament Building, Quebec City, Canada, Le Chateau Frontenac Hotel, Quebec City, Canada, and The Mirek Museum, Moscow, Russia, among others.
Michelle is currently teaching at Sound of Strings, Hermantown, MN. She is the strings director at Holy Rosary School, Duluth, is the pianist for the choral department at East High School, Duluth, pianist for Grace Lutheran Church, Hermantown, violinist, pianist contractor and music arranger for Sound of Strings and Four String Rock professional ensembles, is very active as a performer in local symphonies and chamber music ensembles, and continues her lifelong commitment to outreach concerts in schools and beyond.