Brenda started playing harp at the age of 7.
At the Rotterdam Conservatory (nowadays called Codarts University of the Arts), where she started studying with Teresia Rieu when she was only 13, she developed a very solid base both technically and musically.
After graduating Bachelor in Music in 1998, Brenda received a grant to study in Germany with Prof. Helga Storck, where her performance skills and orchestra playing were brought to a higher level. This resulted in her winning the auditions for both the European Union Youth Orchestra, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in the Summer of 1999.
Brenda concluded her classical training by returning to Codarts, where she refined her technique and musical sensitivity under the guidance of Godelieve Schrama.
Parallel to her classical music education, she made several escapades to jazz harp by taking lessons and workshops with Park Stickney, Deborah Henson-Conant and Carrol McLaughlin. Since 2005, Brenda is actively involved in the world of jazz harp. Both in playing and in spreading the gospel: together with fellow harpist Sabine Meijers she founded and leads the international Jazz Harp Foundation.
Through the discovery of a strong and intuïtive musical connection with fellow musicians Marieke voor de Wind (bassoon), Sietse van Gorkom (violin), and, ultimately, herself, her journey continued into the field of free improvisation.
Most recently, she has been reïnventing her playing on the traditional acoustic folk harp. This development has been catalyzed by a temporary but inspiring collaboration with Turkish musicians presenting contemporary compositions and improvisations based on Middle Eastern, Balkan and West African folk music.
As a free lance musician, Brenda has the luxury to be able to integrate all the above mentioned genres into her professional life. At any given time, one might find her performing jazz in a classy combo, presenting the French impressionists in a church recital, playing the blues at the corner jam, improvising with a bassoonist and a painter or a story teller, grooving with a DJ at a club or corporate event, or teasing tradition as a folk harper with a twist.
Brenda regularly teaches improvisation and basic jazz & blues workshops in The Netherlands and abroad with Sabine Meijers for the Jazz Harp Foundation. She is also available for private lessons and as an instructor at educational events like the upcoming 2015 edition of the International Harp School of Island Mountain Arts in Canada.
Brenda is an amateur singer, violin and cello player, and mother of two boys currently in competition on hitting the toy piano keyboard with a drum stick as effectively and patience-stretchingly as possible ;)