Melissa, in Australia’s Limelight Magazine in 2021, was described as “our foremost baroque flutist” and of her playing, in The Australian Stage 2023, “to hear Melissa Farrow perform this [Vivaldi’s La Notte concerto] was to listen to a masterclass in extreme subtlety of expression”.
Melissa began her childhood musical journey in Auckland, New Zealand, developing a passion for music of the baroque and classical period, as well as the medieval. She took up studies in both recorder and flute and this dual focus continued, leading into post-graduate studies in Amsterdam with two of the world’s leading experts in their fields: the recorder virtuoso and pedagogue Walter van Hauwe and the contemporary flute specialist Harrie Starreveld. As these contrasting studies progressed, Melissa started to find a way to bring these elements together with lessons on the baroque flute with Marten Root in Amsterdam. Refining her approach further, she explored the different national historical flute styles with Karl Kaiser in Germany, Wilbert Hazelzet in The Netherlands and Lisa Besnosiuk in England. This fascinating with a wide variety of styles and approaches to flute has continued to this day with Melissa developing her musical language and technique with the various developing complex flute key-systems of the 18th and 19th Centuries.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships over her career. Most notably as a Grand Finalist in the New Zealand Young Musicians Competition, a Creative New Zealand scholarship, a NUFFIC Dutch government grant , and as a proud New Zealander of Māori heritage, also received a Performing Arts Scholarship from the Tainui Māori Trust Board. She also has received an Australia Council Professional Development Grant as well as an Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Baroque Study Grant.
Melissa has been, since 2003, the Principal flute and core member of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, she is also Principal flute with the Australian Haydn Ensemble and performs regularly as Guest Principal with Pinchgut Opera as well as the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She has a passion for chamber music and is a founding member of the Sydney-based ensembles Notturno playing Classical and Romantic chamber music and historical wind ensemble Notos Quintet.
Melissa performs regularly as a soloist and has performed numerous concerti with the NZSO, Dunedin Sinfonia as well as NZ Barok, Pinchgut Opera, Australian Haydn Ensemble and The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. She has recorded extensively and her first solo album with ABC Classics entitled Viennese Bouquet, was just released in mid-September this year.
Melissa is an enthusiastic educator, lecturing in historical flute at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music , as well as playing a key role in the educational programs of the ABO, AHE, Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra and Adelaide Baroque.
Updated November, 2023