Melissa Schaak

Home / Melissa Schaak

Principal 2nd Violin

Melissa was born in Sudbury and is a former student of Mary Kozak. A violin performance graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University under professor Jerzy Kaplanek, Melissa also completed a specialization in chamber music under the renowned Penderecki String Quartet. During her years at Laurier, she also had the pleasure of studying with Moshe Hammer and Stephen Sitarski. Melissa attended many summer music festivals worldwide, including the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Burgfeistriz (Vienna, Austria), Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (Italy) and Orford Centre for the Arts (QU). She pursued her post graduate studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam under the tutelage of Peter Brunt (former student of Dorothy Delay and principle second of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra). While in Amsterdam, she worked under great conductors such as, Maestro Franz Bruggen (Orchestra of the 18th Century) and Reinbert de Leeuw (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Residencie Orchestra The Hague, Dutch Radio Orchestra).

Melissa’s versatility on her instrument led her to explore the world of popular, folk, and electronic styles of music throughout her time abroad. She toured with the electric string quartet, The Exclusive Strings for six years, playing for audiences from Asia to the Middle East, Australia, Europe, South America and Canada. Later forming the duo Electra, with colleague, Tamara Savic, both girls were featured in the hit single/video, “Envole-moi” (Sony, France) alongside Almazian’s Pop Symphony. Notably, Melissa collaborated with the Dutch rock band, Navarone in the creation and release of the live DVD ‘A Date at the Chapel’, alternative rock meets orchestral sonorities. She has shared the stage with renowned artists such as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, Disturbed, Salvatore Adamo, Richard Desjardins, Idina Menzel, Johnny Logan, Natasha Bedingfield, Evanescence and Chaka Khan, to name a few.