Michelle Velvin is a Wellington based harpist, composer and teacher. She has a passion for performing New Zealand compositions and writing new New Zealand music. Her explorations have led to diverse collaborations with other musicians in wide-ranging genres and different disciplines. Recently Michelle won the SOUNZ Community Commission with her proposal to create a new work for the Auckland Harp Orchestra and live dancers, the performance occurring in July of this year. She performed Dorothea Franci’s (NZ) Harp and Harmonica Concertino with Coral Trimmer and the Kapiti Concert Orchestra in August this year. In 2020 Michelle has developed music for recording with artists such as Mara TK, Cory Champion, Lucien Johnson, Deva Mahal, Nikau Ni Weera, Alistair Fraser and Ruby Solly. Michelle remotely recorded harp for Claire Cowan’s ‘The Sleeping Keeper’ during lockdown. During lockdown she also developed new music for ‘Covid Colab’, a New Zealand lockdown music collaboration funded by Wellington Museum as a fundraiser for Wellington venues affected by Covid19. Michelle’s composition ‘Bones’ for solo harp and backing electronics was part of the NZSO livestream video ‘Speed’ over lockdown too. In 2019, Michelle had her solo soprano saxophone piece “When I was a bird” (based on the text by Katherine Mansfield) premiered at the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival by Genevieve Davidson.
Michelle completed her Postgraduate Diploma in harp performance, with distinction, at Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music in 2015, under Carolyn Mills. She has performed as part of all of New Zealand's major orchestras and performs regularly with both the NZSO and Orchestra Wellington. Michelle is involved with many chamber music ensembles, including Stroma New Music Ensemble, Duo ‘VAARP’, with violinist Laura Barton, Duo Eolienne with saxophonist Genevieve Davidson, Lucid Dreambike, a trombone and harp duo with Peter Maunder, and a guitar and harp duo with Jake Church. In July 2016, Michelle was accepted to attend the Catrin Finch Harp Academy in Cardiff, Wales, where she performed in masterclasses with both Catrin Finch and Elinor Bennett. In 2015 she was the winner of the NZ Performance Harp Competition and she created the Wellington Harp Orchestra. In April 2018 Michelle completed a suite of lullabies that were performed by her Wellington Harp Orchestra. In 2015 Michelle had her composition for harp ensemble Under Watchful Eyes performed at the week-long Auckland Harpenz festival. She was also recorded for New Zealand Singer/Songwriter Dudley Benson’s new album, Zealandia.
Michelle Velvin is a Wellington based harpist, composer and teacher. As a musician her explorations have led to diverse collaborations over wide-ranging genres and disciplines. Most recently in 2021 she has been working closely in duo 'Tamira Pūoro' to record their first album. This duo features Ruby Solly (taonga pūoro, cello, vocals) and Michelle Velvin (harp, vocals). Instrumental tracks explore the relationship between taonga pūoro and harp, and vocal tracks look into the history of Aotearoa New Zealand's social landscape. In 2019/2020 Michelle won the SOUNZ Community Commission to create a new work for the Auckland Harp Orchestra and live dancers. In 2020 Michelle developed music with artists Mara TK, Cory Champion, Lucien Johnson, Deva Mahal, and Nikau Ni Weera. During lockdown Michelle created new music for Covid Colab, and her composition Bones for solo harp and electronics was featured on the NZSO livestream video Speed. In 2019, Michelle had her composition When I was a bird premiered at the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival. Michelle completed her PgDip in harp performance at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music in 2015. She performs as part of all of New Zealand's major orchestras and regularly with various chamber music groups.
'When I was a Bird' is available for purchase here.