Melina van Leeuwen performs nationally as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral performer.
An avid chamber music artist, she is a founding member of the Chrysalis Trio, formed together with flautist Kiran Phatak and violist Katie Yap. The ensemble was awarded a competitive Australian National Academy of Music Artists title and embarked on a national tour in 2019. Melina was a featured soloist for the Melbourne Recital Centre’s 2019 Tenth Birthday Gala Concert and for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra's opening 2016 concert series 'Classical Visions.' She has performed with Syzygy Ensemble, Kegelstatt Ensemble, Rubiks Collective, Inventi Ensemble, Forest Collective, Halcyon ensemble, and Australia’s Seven Harp Ensemble. Melina has appeared as Principal Harp with the Australian World Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria, and the Tasmanian, West Australian, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. Popular artist collaborations include performing with the Violent Femmes (USA), the Hilltop Hoods, Missy Higgins, Kate Miller-Heidke, Paul Kelly, Evanescence (USA), Ben Folds (USA), Josh Groban (USA) and "kamikaze cabaret" artist Meow Meow.
Melina is passionate about collaborating with composers to expand the harp repertoire. Recent works written for her include Sonata for Harp [The Bamboo Forest] (2020) by Stuart Greenbaum, and The Chrysalis Game (2019) by Natalie Williams, written for the Chrysalis Trio with the support of ANAM and Country Arts SA. In 2021 Chrysalis were featured performers for a new chamber opera by Kevin March (USA) as part of the Victorian Opera double-bill Echo and Narcissus.
A recipient of a National Undergraduate Scholarship at the Australian National University, Melina completed a Bachelor of Music in 2012 with a High Distinction average under the tutelage of Alice Giles (AM). Previously, Melina studied with Xanya Mamunya. From 2013-2014 Melina was the harpist at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), an elite music performance institution based in Melbourne. In 2016 she received an Australian Postgraduate Award at Melbourne University, completing her PhD investigation into the music and written essays of twentieth-century harpist Carlos Salzedo in late 2020. As a recipient of a Norman Macgeorge scholarship she travelled to the United States to work on Salzedo repertoire with Heidi Lehwalder, one of Salzedo's last surviving students.
Performance highlights include the 2016 Helpmann award-winning Australian World Orchestra tour with Sir Simon Rattle, appearing as Principal Harp for the Australian World Orchestra's 2019 National Tour season, the 2014 World Harp Congress; 2017 Dark Mofo festival; 2018 Mofo festival; Port Fairy Spring Music Festival; Canberra International Music Festival; Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music; the 2013 ARIA-award winning ‘Conversations with Ghosts’ collaborative project of James Ledger, Paul Kelly and Genevieve Lacey; and appearing as a guest soloist for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China.
Melina performs on a 2008 concert grand Salzedo harp by Chicago makers Lyon & Healy.
As a solo harpist, Melina performs regularly at private or corporate functions.
Venues and employers have included St. John’s Lutheran Church (Southbank), GUCCI (Collins Str.), Channel Nine Studios, Channel Seven Studios, Channel Ten Studios, Foxtel, Hardy Brothers Jewellers (Collins Str.), Mazda, the Ian Potter Museum (Swanston Str.), the Plaza Ballroom (Collins Str.), the Windsor Hotel (Spring Str.), the Grand Hyatt Melbourne Hotel (Collins Str.), the Langham Hotel (Southbank Ave.), the Kelvin Club (Melbourne Pl), the Athenaeum Club (Collins Str.), Docklands (Waterfront City), Montsalvat (Eltham), Crown Casino (Southbank), Government House (Melbourne), the Acca complex (Southbank), the Arts Centre (Melbourne), Como House (South Yarra), Werribee Mansion Gardens, and the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra).