Melissa Venema, the young Dutch trumpet player, was born on 12th April 1995. She lives with her parents in Zaandam, north-west of Amsterdam, and is the youngest of six children.
At the tender age of 8, Melissa discovered her love for the trumpet. She immediately set about learning with a degree of diligence and enthusiasm which does her first name credit. For Melissa derives from the Greek and means 'busy as a bee'. Melissa practises on her instrument for up to four hours each day. She often records herself practising in order then to analyse her playing for errors. At the age of just 10, she thus managed to pass the entrance exam for the music academy in Amsterdam, the "Conservatorium van Amsterdam", where she has been receiving her education ever since. Her professor at the conservatory is Theo Wolters (2nd conductor of the "Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra" in Amsterdam). The conservatory's "Jong Talent Klas”, geared towards its young talents, allowed Melissa to complete her normal schooling in tandem with her classical music training.
Melissa was awarded her first music prizes at the very outset of her studies. She has been especially successful in the "Prinses Christina" competition, winning it several times; in 2009 she even managed to win not only 1st prize, but all the other prizes as well - the sponsorship prize, the audience prize, and the finale prize. She has also won others of her country's awards, such as the "Jong Talent Nederland" (2008) sponsorship prize. She has also enjoyed international success. In 2010 she was the youngest participant in the "International Chicago Brass Festival", garnering third place. And it is certain that there are still many national and international accolades to come!
When she was a mere 11 years old, Melissa produced her first CD, "Melissa voor U". Her debut album was produced by Bert Moll, the conductor of the "Groot Nationaal Strijkorkest". It contains recordings of sacred music; for Melissa, who is very devout, it represents an homage to her Christian religion. The young artist's performances at events of the most-viewed religious service in the world, the "Hour of Power" with Dr Robert Schuller, are accordingly very important to her. Melissa was recently able to perform in the actual place of broadcast, the breath-taking "Crystal Cathedral" in California.
Melissa's second CD, "Melissa in Concert", was released in 2009. The instrumental album contains a mix of classical and popular melodies. She released her third album, "From the Heart", produced in collaboration with the pianist Cathelijne Noorland, just one year later.
These CD publications alone make clear how extremely versatile this exceptional young trumpeter is. She has at her command a broad repertoire of recital and concert pieces. It extends from composers such as Bach and Haydn through to Rota and Webber. Melissa Venema has also already played pieces for trumpet composed especially for her.
Melissa plays on a total of five different trumpets. Since 2007, these have included a custom-made Yamaha trumpet. The hand-crafted instrument impresses with its very full and warm sound, and fits Melissa's virtuoso playing style perfectly. Her beautiful playing and excellent technique are further augmented by her pretty and endearing appearance.
As a trumpet soloist, Melissa Venema hasalready performed in her country's leading orchestras and choirs. These include the "Promenade Orkest" and the Netherlands' best amateur brass band, the "Gelders Fanfare Orkest". When still just a child, she played with renowned conductors such as Bas Pollard and Vincent van den Bijlaard. She also gave a solo performance at the eminent "Concertgebouw" in Amsterdam, one of the world's most important venues for classical music. Her audience is equally eminent: Melissa has had the honour of playing twice for Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
A further highlight in her career is her collaboration with André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra. Since 2008, she has accompanied the orchestra as a soloist during several concerts. "Melissa was just 13 years old when she stood on stage with us. The audience was delighted when it heard the wonderful sounds of Melissa's trumpet-playing. But it was not just the audience who were thrilled - so was I, and so was my orchestra. She is an extremely talented young lady and has a great and successful future ahead of her. I wish her nothing but luck for her life and career", says André Rieu when talking about Melissa. During her performances, her rendition of Nini Rosso's "Il Silenzio" in particular causes a furore among the audience. One of these impressive performances can be seen on the video-hosting website YouTube, where it has already been viewed over 12 million times!
Yet she has also played to an international audience as a soloist. Melissa Venema toured South Africa in 2007 and 2009. During her last trip, not content with a simple concert tour, the industrious musician also gave a few music lessons at schools.
In Germany, Melissa has found a mentor in Till Brönner. In winter 2010, the trumpeter introduced her to the audience of the ZDF-channel TV show "Willkommen bei Carmen Nebel". "I was knocked off my feet, because the most important thing one needs when playing the trumpet is a beautiful sound, and she has been given this as a natural gift, a gift from God as it were, and I was thrilled", says Till when discussing Melissa's playing. Carmen Nebel is also sure: "Praise where praise is due! I am sure she will go on to do great things." In order to have not only musical but also linguistic mastery for future performances in Germany, Melissa took German lessons at the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam.
Another highlight in the career of Melissa Venema: she accompanied Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts as a special guest on his tour in Germany with 13 highly acclaimed concerts.
Melissa`s fourth album was produced in collaboration with the successful producer, musician, and composer Frank Nimsgern. His broad oeuvre of film music, show arrangements and musical productions perfectly complement Melissa Venema's versatile trumpet-playing.
"This concept album, which has the title 'The Trumpet Is My Voice', contains a Bach cantata and famous opera arias. These are not being sung by opera divas in the conventional manner, but are instead being interpreted by my musical voice - the trumpet", says Melissa. Thus she performs timeless pieces such as "Nessum Dorma" and "Hell's vengeance boileth in mine heart" - the famous aria from Mozart's "Magic Flute" - on her trumpet. The CD also features melodies from such operas as "Carmen" and "Tannhäuser".
In November 2012 Melissa played as soloist 6 times in the Royal Albert hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Only Melissa got “standing ovations”. Melissa played there the third movement of the Haydn Trumpet Concerto and the Habanera from the opera Carmen.
In December 2012 Melissa played as soloist 3 times at the “Max Proms” in Utrecht with the Metropole Orchestra. Only she got “standing ovations”. Melissa played “Il Silenzio”.
In September 2013 Melissa gave 3 very successful concerts in Canada.
In December 2013 Melissa played as soloist 2 times at the “Max Proms” in Utrecht in the “Jaarbeurshallen”, with the Metropole Orchestra. She played the third movement of the Trumpet Concerto of J. Haydn and she got standing ovations.
In February 2014 Melissa performed with the Brassband ‚’'Bazuin Oenkerk’’ in the theater ‚’’De Lawei’’ in Drachten. In July 2014 Melissa had a concert with the famous soul singer Joss Stone at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Ahoy Rotterdam.
In October 2014 Melissa was invited to play in Taipei, Taiwan to perform with the ’'Taipei Chinese Orchestra’’. She performed there the Haydn Trumpet Concerto. The audience loved it and she got a standing ovation. She also played the ''Habanera’’ from the opera ’’Carmen’’ and a beautiful Taiwanese encore '’Lentebries’’. On her journey Melissa also received a special hand made trumpet, special made for her, from the Carol Brass factory in Taiwan.
In august 2015 Melissa performed in Slovakia. She played at the big opening of the new football station in Trnava. The clubsong from football club Trnava is 'Il Silenzio’’. The fans where singing together loudly when Melissa was playing the song. In September Melissa was selected to participate for the ’'Young Concert Artist’' competition in Leipzig. She was seen as the best brass player in the competition. In November Melissa had the honor to play at the funeral of Leon Melchior, the famous horse breeder. She was partly invited by André Rieu. The ceremony was on his estate in Lanaken (Belgium). She played there ''Il Silenzio’’ as one of his last wishes.
In december 2015 the father of Melissa died. The last performances he saw from Melissa was with the brassband ’'Excelsior’’ in Driezum-Wâlterswâld on November 21.
In 2016 Melissa’s first performance this year was at the Valentijnsconcert in Heiloo. This concert was with the ensemble Melissa and Friendz. It was a very emotional and beautiful concert.
On June 1 Melissa finished her study after 10 years at the conservatory of Amsterdam.
On September 16 Melissa performed at the last reunion of the Veterans who survived the world war 2. They fought at operation Market Garden in The Netherlands in September 1944. The Veterans where very happy to hear the Ill Silenzio of Melissa.
On December 16/17 (2016) Melissa performed the Haydn trumpet concerto at the Christmas in Vienna concert with the ORF Orchestra in the famous Komserthaus in Vienna. The Christmas in Vienna concerts were broadcasted in Austria.
On April 16th The famious pianist Wibi Soerjadi and Melissa gave a concert together in the big Bethelchurch in Drachten. The concert was sold-out and the audience found Wibi and Melissa a great musical duo.