Born 08.10.1970 in Pretoria in South Africa.
Born and raised in an Afrikaans family in South Africa and Namibia, where she studied opera and piano.
Lived and worked in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London, Scotland, Cologne, and Berlin.
In 2016, she moved to Norway.
Speaks and writes fluently: Afrikaans, English, and German. Understands, and performs both as an actor and singer in Norwegian.
Juliana Venter is a multidisciplinary artist and primarily a vocalist who works with notated and free-improvised music, classical and extended vocal techniques, contemporary music, noise, jazz, baroque music, folk music expressions from Norway, Southern Africa, West Africa, Central Asia, Arabic music, Japanese and Chinese traditional musical expressions as well as rock and pop. She has a very distinctive expression. She is also an actress who operates in both film and theatre. She is a composer for large and original ensembles, and at the same time she makes music for just her own voice or the various regular collaborations she has with various musicians, from a traditional singer/songwriter tradition to modernist and conceptual contemporary music. In addition, she has done countless cross-genre performance concerts and music/theatre performances.
Operatically trained from 1985-98. She is known for her heartfelt voice, wide palette and her groundbreaking and at times extreme expression. She has been called by the press,“the queen of South African avant-garde“ She was lead singer in the music and performance band The Mud Ensemble from Johannesburg, which achieved cult status as pioneers in avant-garde music theatre in South Africa in the 1990s. The Mud Ensemble was also known for its expression against apartheid.
Notable album releases;
2011; she released an album documenting The Mud Ensemble's material from 1993 to 1997.
Spooky attraction from a distance was also released in 2011 with German label Staubgold. Based on Einstein's theory of "Spooky action at a distance" (quantum entanglement) by the music press mentioned in the same breath as Anthony Hegarty and Joanna Newsom, as an important contribution to the avant-folk style.
2019; released the noise album W / V Concave together with James Welburn, an album that has received many praises in the international music press.
2021; appearance on the album “sleeper in the void“ by James Welburn.
International and Norwegian collaborations in music:
Josef Suchy, Carlo Mombelli, Poing, Oslo Sinfonietta, Paal Nilssen-Love, Maja SK Ratkje, Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, Knut Reiersrud, Ramsay Mackay, Ümit Urgen, Håkon Thelin, Per Oddvar Johansen, Kouame Sereba, Becaye Aw, KORK, Frikar, Munor Ensemble, Eivind Lønning, Harald Hårfagres Kammerorkester, Eirik Raude and Mats Eilertsen. Thomas Mahmoud, Håkon Mjåset Johansen, James Welburn, Bjarne Kvinnsland, Mouvoir tanz Kompanie , Jo Strømgren and Marius Kolbenstvedt, Det Utvalgte, Øyvind Berg, Frøde Haltli, Tuva Syvertsen, Rolf Wallin, Brydon Bolton, Ronan Skillen, DNA, Jonno Sweetman, Jim Neversink. Produced the song grey on debut album of South African singer Alice Phoebe Lou.
Andi Thoma, Andreas Dorau, Peter Licht. George Lewis.
Notable collaborations in film and theatre:
Guy DeLancy, Gavin Hood, Etienne Kallos, Aletta Bezuidenhout, Jerry Mofokeng, Isle Van Hemert.
Amanda Donohue, Gary Busy, Marcel Van Heerden.
- When she was 9 years old, she won national talent competitions (called Eisteddfod) in the class best Singer.
- As a 13-year-old, she was selected as the one who represented her junior high school as a singing soloist in Namibia's national revue group. They toured along the Caprivi Strip during the Angolan War, traveling in convoys through war zones filled with landmines to perform and sing for the soldiers stationed at the border.
- 14 years old, she was admitted to Johannesburg Music, Ballet and Art School. There she studied under the highly respected and internationally renowned bass baritone Dawie Couzyn, who has performed at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Vienna State Opera and the Covent Garden. He remained her teacher for 13 years and helped her achieve an international level in classical vocal use, studies in classical music and lead singing.
At the age of 17 she became the youngest member of South Africa's opera choir, and the same year she debuted as an actress and singer with the award-winning theater director Ilse van Hemert together with some of South Africa's leading actors.
- Furthermore, she continued to tour around schools in South Africa through the organization PACT (Performing Arts Council of Transvaal).
- She studied acting, theater and film privately with Aletta Bezuidenhout in South Africa and with Susan Batson, coach to Nicole Kidman and Juliette Binoche.
Awards / nominations
2018; The Harvesters a South African feature film was selected for the Cannes International film festival competing in the Un Certain Regard section.
She was nominated Best Supporting Actress at the Silver screen film festival in South Africa.
2019; Received the Hedda Award (Norways prestigious theatre awards) for special artistic effort with The chosen ones for the performance The Ship vol 5.
Scholarships / residences
2021 Norwegian states artistic working stipend.
2020 Recipient of the Rauschenberg Foundation's travel grant and scholarship stay for 5 weeks on Captiva Island in Florida to develop their own projects.
2019 Travel support from Music Norway for W / V album tour.
2018 FFUK travel support for preliminary project and development of «Bird Project» / Bokmakierie with Cara Stacey in Swaziland and Johannesburg.
2017 received support for a record with Nystrøm / Venter from FFUK
2013 Support from the National Arts Council of South Africa for preliminary project for the opera Soul of the White Ant in Namibia.
1998 Support from the National Arts Council of South Africa for a project with The Mud Ensemble.
Excerpt actor performances in recent years :
• She stars in The Harvesters. This was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 in the Un Certain Regard category, it also won awards at the Sundance Festival. Industry magazine Variety, called her performance "superb".
• She has played Goneril in King Lear, and played the part of Yvette Pottier in Brecht's Mother Courage which toured in South Africa.
• In 2018 and 2019, she had leading roles as an actor and singer and co-composer in 4 productions by the internationally renowned Norwegian theater group De Utvalgte. The last of the productions was performed as part of the Ultima Festival, and together with the rest of the company she received the Hedda Prize for special artistic effort.
. •Founding member of theatre group The Skeleton coast.