Brenda started playing harp at the age of 7.
At Codarts University of the Arts (then Rotterdams Conservatorium), where she started studying with Teresia Rieu when she was only 13, she developed a very solid base both technically and musically.
After graduating as a 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 winning the 1999 auditions for both the European Union Youth Orchestra, where she played under the baton of Bernard Haitink, and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra, led by Christopher Eschenbach.
She concluded her classical training by returning to Codarts, where she further refined her technique and musical skills under the guidance of Godelieve Schrama. A collaborator at heart, her work as a classical musician focused around chamber music and choir accompaniment, in the Netherlands and Germany.
Parallel to her classical music education, she had already made some 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.
Her journey continued into the field of free improvisation through the discovery of a strong and intuïtive musical connection with fellow musicians Marieke voor de Wind (bassoon) and Sietse van Gorkom (violin), and working with dancers, visual artists and story tellers.
After moving to the UK in 2016, Brenda has further developed her performing and teaching skills in blues and jazz. Both as a soloist and as a band member she is equally at home on the pedal harp and on the lever harp (acoustic and solid body electric).
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 combo, presenting the French impressionists in a recital, accompanying a choir, playing the blues at the corner jam, improvising with a bassoonist and a painter, or grooving with a DJ at a club or event.
Brenda teaches general harp lessons with an emphasis on form awareness and chord knowledge, solid technique and posture. She also teaches specialized blues harp and basic jazz harp lessons. With London, UK, as her current home base, she teaches workshops and co-organises jazz harp jam sessions throughout the UK and abroad.
Brenda is an amateur violin and cello player, and mother of two boys whose cello and drum set are happily sharing the music room with her bunch of wood and a lot of strings ;)