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Michelle Velvin

Composer, Performer


Michelle Velvin is a Wellington based harpist, composer and teacher. She has a special interest in writing harp music and performing New Zealand compositions.

Michelle completed her Postgraduate Diploma in Harp Performance, with distinction, at Te Kōkī, New Zealand School of Music in 2015, under Carolyn Mills. Michelle completed a Bmus in Classical Performance and Instrumental/Vocal Composition in 2014. 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, the NZ Harp Duo, with Jennifer Newth and Duo Eolienne, and with Genevieve Davidson (saxophone).

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. Michelle was the recipient of the 2019 SOUNZ Community Commission, writing a suite of dances for the Auckland Harp Orchestra. In June 2019, Michelle had her solo soprano saxophone piece When I was a bird (based on the text by Katherine Mansfield) performed at the Melbourne International Saxophone Festival. In April 2018, Michelle completed a suite of lullabies that were performed by her Wellington Harp Orchestra. 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 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, in 2015 and in 2019 and has been collaborating with various NZ musicians on new albums.

Composed (13)

10 Preludes for Harp: Volume 1

for solo lever or pedal harp, 16m

Autumn Nest Building

for soprano saxophone, piano and harp, 4m 30s

Dawn Till Dusk – Three Short Pieces for harp ensemble

for intermediate harp ensemble (three or more players), 6m 20s


for harp duo or harp ensemble, 2m

Five Short Tunes for Lever Harp Ensemble

for lever harp ensemble, 6m 30s

Into the Forest

for harp duo or harp ensemble, 1m 44s

Still Life

for alto saxophone, piano and harp, 2m

The Happiness Collection: Volume 1

51 songs for beginner harp player

The Willow

for solo harp, 2m

The Willow

for harp ensemble, 2m

Under Watchful Eyes – A walk through the Tudor Gardens

for harp trio or harp ensemble, 3m 30s

When I was a bird

for solo soprano saxophone, 3m 50s