Melissa Brooks has been a member of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra since 1992. She is a native of New York City where from 1977-88 she attended the pre-college division of the Juilliard School. Brooks received her undergraduate degree from the New England Conservatory where she studied with Laurence Lesser. She graduated from both schools with Distinction in Performance. Brooks has performed chamber and solo concerts throughout the country, including a duo concert with the late cellist Janos Starker. She has won numerous awards and honors and was nominated by Leonard Bernstein for an Avery Fisher career grant in 1988. She has participated in summer festivals such as Marlboro, Tanglewood, Aspen, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Concert Artists Guild Summer Festival, and the Sun Valley Summer Festival, among others. Brooks has appeared as soloist with the SLSO under former Music Director Hans Vonk as well as conductors Jeffery Kahane and Nicholas McGegan. Brooks also performed Pierre Boulez’s demanding Messagesquisse, scored for solo cello and six other cellos, under the direction of David Robertson. Brooks’ activities in the community include creating and participating in numerous benefit concerts throughout the year as well as engagement in advocacy work.