Interim Music Director
Mélisse Brunet formerly served as Assistant Conductor of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and currently holds the position of Interim Music Director. Mélisse is one of the six conductors selected by the League of American Orchestras to be part of the 2018 Bruno Walter National Conductor Preview in April 3 & 4 in Nashville, TN. Mélisse Brunet was also one of six conductors selected from 161 applicants representing 33 countries for the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera, in November 2017. She guest conducted with the NEPA Philharmonic for the 2016 Valentine’s and Independence Day concerts, the pops concert “Wicked Divas” in October, as well as their Christmas Holiday concerts in December. In late June 2017, she also was asked to jump in and conduct the Independence Day concerts. She also regularly guest conducts the French professional Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, the Opéra de Rouen, the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, the Orchestre d’Auvergne and the Orchestre Régional de Normandie. Additionally, in January, Mélisse made her guest conducting debuts with Symphoria, the orchestra based in Syracuse, NY, in a program dedicated to Beethoven and Haydn.
Mélisse believes that each stage appearance is an opportunity for sharing her passion with the audience during concert talks and by the creative interaction of the musicians and the audience throughout the performance. In partnership with the musicians, she is always bringing and trying new ideas to develop and renew the concert form. Challenges motivate her and nourish her ideal of perpetual learning and personal growth. In 2016, she has been conducting several times The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Britten while narrating it from the podium to the audience. In partnership with the willing musicians, she adds live interviews and presentations that are professionally prepared under her guidance. Additionally, she introduced all the pieces to the crowd during the Holiday concerts and the Independence Day concerts in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, PA for crowds reaching 5,000.
Her passion for sharing has always been transposed through her teaching and mentoring of younger musicians. She has been named the Director of Orchestral Activities at Appalachian State University and Music Director of the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra where she is conducting all the symphonic concerts, operas and musicals. In April 2017, she conducted four staged performances of the opera Die Zauberflöte by Mozart and during the Fall, she will conduct the concert “La French Touch”, including Dukas’ Fanfare pour la Péri, Mélisse’s own arrangement of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme by Lully (in a period stylistic approach on modern instruments), Jean Françaix’s L’horloge de Flore with oboist Alicia Chapman and Ravel’s Boléro.
In the summer of 2014, Mélisse was a selected conductor at the prestigious Cabrillo Festival for new music in California. Other notable recent works include assistant conductor to Lionel Bringuier in the production of Bizet’s Carmen featuring the world renowned Magdalena Kožená with a staging of Calixto Bieito in Valladolid. Furthermore, Mélisse assisted the esteemed conductor and musician Jeannette Sorrell in Mozart’s Magic Flute with Apollo’s Fire in Cleveland and Oberlin. Moreover, a dynamic advocate of contemporary music, she was the conductor of the Cleveland Institute of Music New Music Ensemble from 2010 until 2013, and the conductor of the Experimental Orchestra FiveOne based in Cleveland. Mélisse has also had the fortunate opportunity to closely work with the composers Steven Stucky, Shulamit Ran, Michael Daugherty, Eugene O’Brien, Jennifer Higdon, Peter Eötvös, Marc-André Dalbavie, Eric Nathan and Florent Motsch.
As an opera conductor, she conducted Dead Man Walking by Jake Heggie at the Power Center of Ann Arbor in the presence of Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J., Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi at the Power Center of Ann Arbor. She will be conducting the musical Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim during the Spring 2018 at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts in Boone, NC.
A native of Paris, Mélisse Brunet began her studies on the cello. Soon becoming fascinated by the different sounds of various instruments, she learned to play the trumpet, French horn and piano. She graduated with academic honors from the University of La Sorbonne and from the highly selective Paris Conservatoire where she earned a Master’s in Orchestral Conducting as well as five diplomas in Harmony, Counterpoint, Renaissance Counterpoint, Orchestration, and Musical Analysis. Mélisse’s conducting teachers and mentors include Kenneth Kiesler, Pierre Boulez, Joel Smirnoff, Marc-André Dalbavie, Zsòlt Nàgy, and Carl Topilow. Mélisse took part in many international workshops and studied with distinguished conductors such as Marin Alsop, Gustav Meier, David Stern, Peter Eötvös, Markhand Thakar and Jorge Mester. You can visit her website at Mélissebrunet.com.