Born in Pretoria South Africa to an Afrikaans family in 1970.
Grew up in Namibia, Pretoria, and Johannesburg.
Vocalist/composer working in the field of extended techniques, free improvisation, jazz, baroque, world music as well as contemporary classical music.
She is also both a theatre and film actress.
Has lived in London, Scotland, Cologne, Munich, Berlin, and Oslo.
Awards / nominations
2022; Nomination for critics award for music theatre performance Flytende Speil.
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 for Best Supporting Actress at the Silver screen film festival in South Africa.
2019; Received the Hedda Award (Norway's prestigious theatre award) for Special artistic effort with Det Utvalgte for the performance The Ship vol 5.
Scholarships / residences
2022 FFuk artist support.
2022 Norwegian composers union stipend.
2021 Norwegian states working stipend.
2020 Recipient of the Rauschenberg Foundation's travel grant and scholarship stay for 5 weeks on Captiva Island in Florida.
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 a 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.
Off to a rough start after waiting for Vegard Vinge to find a performance space for his next production for 6 months (due to lockdowns) I was forced to take on other work and had to cancel working with one of my theatre heroes. And to make things worse a 16 million rand television production I was to play a lead part in South Africa was pulled due to corruption in the SABC.
So I did the following.
- recorded a demo of a composition by Cecilie Ore for myself and saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm which premiered at Ultima in 2021. This piece is based on Japanese death poems and is called Katsu!
- Recorded our duo album (Nystrøm/ Venter) to be released on Grappa.
With producer Rolf Wallin and co-producer Morten Qvenild. Guest musicians include Paal Nilssen-Love and Nils Økland and Mats Eilertsen.The album largely consists of our own compositions based on years of gathering inspiration across the globe from the many styles of music we have both worked in.In memorie of the great Miriam Makeba we recorded our version of the "click song" as well as the songs "without your love" and "Gloomy sunday",two of great songs made famous by Billy Holiday.
- I worked as a vocalist on step dancer Janne Erakers's album which she has recorded with a handpicked selection of musicians. Janne Eraker has made a name for herself in the passed few years as an innovator in her field. She has challenged the show girl expectation of the step world by using her craft in a original way by approaching her art as not purely a dance form but much more closely as a music instrument.
- Continued performances with Minefelt (music dramatic work) Written and Directed by Marius Kolbenstvedt with music composed by Bjorn Bolstad Skjelbred. The piece deals with a dysfuntional couples deteriorating relationship which borders on abuse and the longterm psycological effects this can have.
- Toured with legendary drummer Paal Nilssen-Love circus (which I joined in 2020) to Saalfelden jazz festival, Brescia in Italy and Cerkno in Slovenia, and soon in Zagreb as well as Sankt Johann in Austria.With some of Norways greatest. Kalle Moberg on accordion,Odrunn Lilia on guitar,Thomas Johannsen on trumpet,Christiaan Meaas on bass AND Signe Emmeluth on saxophone.
- I was a soloist on Nils Henrik Asheims Organotopia at this year's Ultima festival.
Nils Henriks Organotopia was described as one of the higlights of the Ultima festival in 2022.As a top organist Nils Henrik took the audience on a 12 hour journey with several different types of organs in Paulus church in Oslo with his own original material as well as the works of Bach and Grieg and others that he reworked and changed according to his interpretation.
- Duo concert as duo Nystrom/Venter at Hellviktangen. We performed music from our up coming album.
- Opening the exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle at Henie Onstad together with Nystrøm.
Niki de Saint Phalle is one of the most important female artistic voices.She entered into an art world mainly dominated by men,but had a formiddable determination in creating her own style and expressing herself in her own right. An inspiration for future generations of woman.
- An opening exhibition of Hilmar Fredriksen led by the kulturisten at Vanntårnet on Nesodden with Paal Nilssen and Nystrøm. Partly based on John Cages approach to music and alleatoric composing we created a series of two minute pieces with 15 minutes brakes in between played by each performer lasting over two hours in response to the artists work.
- Free improvised concerts at Vanntarnet with Moberg, Love, and Nystrøm.
free improvisation with vocals,truck spring,toy harp,Gongs,saxophones,vibrators,leaves,pingpong balls,stones,bits of poems,a hammer,and accordion and many other things.
- OK session at Victoria jass with Nystrøm/Venter plus guest.
Run by guitarist Oddrunn Lilja the idea behind the OK sessions was inspired by Bugge Wesseltofts label OK world. It is about taking inspiraton from the rest of the world that lives in Oslo and bringing new constelaations of musicians together.
- Streaming concert at Oslo international poetry festival with duo Venter/Nystrøm with commissioned work for the festival.
Oslo international poetry festival run by Birgit Hatlehol introduced some of the worlds greatest female poets at this festival.Nystrøm and myself composed music to Greek antiquities poetess Sappho born around 615 BC and to the famous Indian poetess Sarojini Naidu (1879.1949) who was also a close friend and representative of Ghandi.
- Rap+Poesi live performance at Nordic Black theatre as interviewer for south African black consciousness poet Lesego Rampolokeng as well as a singer and composer.
- Release of Love circus album.
- Founding of a new quartet with drummer Love,pianist Oscar Grünberg and bassist Ole Morten Vagan.
- Continuation of preproject on music theatre piece Vaken with newly founded theatre company Skeleton coast.In collaboration with award winning writer Ingrid Storholmen and Director Marius Kolbenstvedt and singer/composer Frank Havrøy and saxophonist Nystrøm.
see description under 2021.
- The producing, planning, booking, organizing, and running as well as performing at Fram festival 2022 the second year since its founding by Paal Nilssen-Love and myself with help from Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. A local groundbreaking festival of international standard on Nesodden with a focus on local talent.Taking place Oktober 21,22,23. This year we launch our first series of critical thinking talks about themes such as freedom of speech under threat by Big Pharma, Corporatism, technocracy, and the military-industrial complex.
The festival includes modern dance, theatre, poetry, music, art, and performance.
- Continued research on South African /Norwegian music project with funding from the Norwegian composers union for the writing, composing, and research on Soul of the white ant. Based on a true story.
- Writing the first draft of solo music dramatic work Cassandra which is based on the Greek myth. Cassandra had the ability to see into the future but had been cursed by Zeus for refusing to have sex with him therefor nobody would ever believe anything she said even though it would be true.
- Composing the first draft of a solo album.
Focusing on years of work with my voice,inventing new sounds and techniques in this album I produce a body of songs sometimes melodic sometimes more obscure,I incorporating my own sound universe. I use text and poems and sometimes randomn words to create a story,a state or an atmosphere.
- Co-founder of Fram festival on Nesodden. A multi-disciplinary festival with a focus on specifically local-based artists but also includes international artists. Fram festival had its premiere in October 2021 with huge success. The festival hosts groundbreaking talent of the highest quality in dance, music, theatre, performance, and art.
The festival founder includes Paal Nilssen-Love and festival organizer Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. As well as producer Rachel Dagnel.
-Co-founding music theatre company Skeleton coast;
Together with myself, Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and Marius Kolbenstvedt, and Frank Havrøy we founded our own music theatre company with the intention of working with different writers and poets on each project. We aim to use different processes for each production in order to challenge ourselves and prevent us from falling into the trap of creating a style. We aim to find our own very unique language based on our mutual passion for exploration and boundaryless creation.
We received funding for our first pre-production in 2021 and have been working closely with award-winning writer Ingrid Storholmen on a piece called Vaken.
We will be working with Oyvind Berg among many other great Norwegian writers over the next 5 years.
-Flytende speil which was written and created by myself, Torbjorn Martin Davidsen (from Det Utvalgte) Marius Kolbenstvedt, and Julian Skar were selected to premiere in Stamsund festival as well as Fjaler. For this work, we received a critics nomination.
The work is based on autobiographical stories and uses free improvisation as its center point.
- Acclaimed Norwegian composer Cecilie Ore composed a work for myself and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm on saxophone based on Japanese death poems called Katsu!
This 25-minute piece premiered at Ultima contemporary music festival together with our own compositions and own interpretation of Yiannis Xenakis Oristea.
- As part of the sløserikommisjonen I participated together as a duo with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm in the debate on what is art and why is it important for society. This project was directed by Morten Traavik in response to the online trolling which took place and attacked many Norwegian artists such as Vegard Vinge and Nystrøm himself in claiming they were wasting the state's money on producing baseless, meaningless as well as badly executed art. We thought it important to take a conversation with them and it turned out to be very meaningful and worthwhile.
- With Nystrøm and myself we performed at the streaming concert led by Birgit Hatlehol and the Oslo poetry festival for the freeing of Palestine from Israeli occupation.
-We also composed and performed at the online poetry festival led by Birgit Hatlehol which included poets from across Scandinavia.
- Duo Nystrøm/Venter at nesodden jass festival. Vocal and sax.
With a poem by Tor Ulvin, music by baroque composer Etienne Moulinie,as well as jazz and African inspired music.
- Brann; performance of environmental awareness music drama piece with music composed by me and playing at the Porsgrunn (PITT)theatre festival. Directed by Marius Kolbenstvedt, written by Nicolay Lange Nilssen, and performed by all of the above persons.
- Recording a full-length album with Love circus.
-In 2020 I joined acclaimed drummer Paal Nilssen-Loves's project called circus.
The band includes me on vocals, Oddrun Lilia on guitar, Signe Emmeluth on saxophone, Thomas Johannsen on trumpet, Christian Meaas on bass, and the legend himself on drums.
We have since toured globally and in Norway. The first premiere took place at Cosmopolite and then at Victoria national jazz as well as Molde.
- 10-year celebration of Blow out the acclaimed festival for improvised music with duo Venter /Nystrøm. This is a legendary festival on a global scale, few festivals have had such extraordinary names and presented such a selection of the world's great free improvisers as Blow out has.
- Repeat performances of Minefelt. Music dramatic work by Marius Kolbenstvedt with music by Bjorn Bolstad Skellebred. Kunstnerneshus. A music dramatic work about the deterioration of a relationship and abuse in couples.
- Potato concert, I joined as a soloist performing with selected musicians at the book launch of Marianne Bergs's book Potit. Which is a book about the history and importance of potatoes for human survival. I performed a song by Funk legend James Brown called do the mashed potato and a famous song by Miriam Makeba called Pata Pata.
Excerpt actor performances in recent years :
• She stars in a new international feature film from South Africa, The Harvesters, about a Boer family at the end of apartheid. This was selected for the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, in the Un Certain Regard category, has won awards at the Sundance Festival, and was nominated for "best-supporting actress" at the Silver Screen Festival in South Africa. Industry magazine Variety called her performance "superb".
• Venter has studied the Meisner technique with Mike Bernardin from the Actor's Space in Berlin, which she also now teaches. She is a student of the renowned acting coach Susan Batson (permanent coach for Nicole Kidman and Juliette Binoche, among others)
• 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 were performed as part of the Ultima Festival, she received the Hedda Prize for special artistic effort.
She had a leading role in the music theatre performance Congress of Dreams as an actress and singer and was highlighted by Ida Lou Larsen in the review of the performance, Directed by Susanne Øglænd with music by Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Black Box in Oslo. Together with Håkon Thelin, Trond Høvik, Per Oddvar Johansen, Anne Kokkin, and others.
• Activity 2020 composition, performance, and acting.
-Dans for voksne; the premiere of composition for voice, tree trunk, and motorcycle.
-Morning concert Sagene church: The wolf hour by Juliana Venter and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Inspired by dawn chorus,birds song,Ingmar Bergmann, Dante and baroque music.
- Corona sessions with Jo Strømgren company as singer and actress in a free- improvised
performance with ballet dancer Silas Henriksen.
- The Drop Festival at renowned jazz venue Cosmopolite (live stream) fundraiser for refugees. Rolf- Erik Nystrøm and Mats Eilertsen.
- Nakba 72 -performance composition and vocals with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.For the Palestinian cause in Gaza.
- Pre-project writing and creating (Floating mirror) with Marius Kolbensvedt and Julian Skar and Torbjørn Martin Davidson.Bases on autobiographical stories and using free improvisation as the basis of each performance.
- Founding of Skeleton coast a music theatre company with M. Kolbenstvedt, R-E Nystrøm, and F Haverøy.
- Minefield; the premiere of a new music theatre work at Kunstnernes hus in December 2020.Direction and text M.Kolbenstvedt.Composer. Bjørn Skjelbred.
- Duo concert with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm at Exhibition opening landscape painting Jon Løvøen on Sandøya island.
- Blowout,a 10-year festival celebration of the prestigious free improv series with the newly formed trio Karawane with Øyvind Skarbø and Vilia Ellefsen-Larson from DNA. (18-22 August) Nasjonal jazz scene.
- Duo concert Nystrøm / Venter asked to create a remix of one of Scandinavia's most important female composers' works Åse Hedstrøm.
- Oslo world music festival concert with world-renowned free improv drummer Paal Nilssen- Love.
- Commissioned work for Oslo literature festival Barne festivalen and African resistance poetry.
Own projects under development.
As a composer and singer:
Research/recording work and composition for «Bird Song project» / Bokmakierie in Swaziland using traditional instruments and musicians from Swaziland and the Norwegian super trio Poing. Based on bird songs from South Africa and Norway.
Projects as a singer, actress, and composer:
- Main role as actress and singer in Skipet vol. 6 with De Utvalgte in Hofteatret in Copenhagen.
- Fra Hæl Til Himmel (Human cockroaches), a music theater production based on a text by and with Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen, music composed by Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, Juliana Venter, Eirik Raude; also starring: Marius Kolbenstvedt, Janne Eraker and Håkon Sigernes.
- Draumefangeren, produced by Frikar dansekompani v /pani v / Halgrim Hansegård, with Bjarne Kvinnsland, Eirik Raude and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Also physical and choreographed performers.
- Touring the record release of W / V in Lillehammer, Oslo, Berlin, and Prague.
- Work with teenagers and young adults with mental challenges under the name Supergruppo: A project where we created music together with Supergruppo at Vossajazz; together with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and Håkon Mjåset Johansen.
- Collaboration, and concerts with DNA in Norway at Hærverk and Mir.
- Performed at Le guess who festival in the Netherlands (under the auspices of Dance for Adults). Oslo-based music group where the members have down syndrome. Led by Harald Fetveit and Bjarne Larsen.
- Soloist for the silent film L 'Inferno by Dante Alighieri composed by Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Specially written for Juliana Venter with Oslo Sinfonietta and Poing. The opening of the silent film festival at the Cinematheque in Oslo.
- Soloist in the music for the silent film L 'Inferno di Dante in Rolf-Erik Nystrøm's music during Kammerfest in Østfold.
- Duo concert with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm during Kammerfest in Østfold in Fredrikstad.
- Free improvised / noise music trio concert with Juliana and the Venters at Hausmania (with Morten Minothi- Kristiansen and Kenneth Kornstad)
- Solo concert/performance under the title Mr.Richman at Hausmania.
- Christmas with Poing on the Victoria National Jazz Stage.
Actress-singer and composer:
- Children's Bonfire; a musical theatre performance for children and young people, which addresses the climate problems the world is facing, together with Marius Kolbenstvedt and Nikolai Lange-Nilssen, commissioned by the Church of Norway.
a. Tromsø Church Music Festival in the Arctic Cathedral.
b. Sandefjord (The Cultural Schoolbag)
c. Nesodden church
d. The climate festival at Sentralen in Oslo.
- Co-wrote and performed the soundtrack to the short film Alien Resident by Mira Matthew.
- Released the album W / V on the company Silken Tofu together with James Wellburn.
As an actor, singer, and co-composer:
- Ship 3; at Black Box theatre in Oslo.
- Ship 4; at the Terschelling theatre festival in the Netherlands
- Ship 5; at the Ultima Festival (Hedda Prize
As a free improviser and singer /vocalist:
- Frikar dance company as a performer and singer.
- Concert with Poing on the free improvisation concert series Blow Out.
- Free Resonance In Trondheim. Nystrøm / Venter duo.
- Diversity workshop together with composer and improvisation legend Georg Lewis as part of the Ultima Festival.
- The silent film L 'Inferno di Dante as a singer with Munor (the district musicians in the northern Rogaland ensemble) and Harald Hårfagre's Chamber Orchestra at the film festival in Haugesund. Composer Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
-Tour in China: Shanghai, Zhujiajiao, and Guangzhou with Kouame Sereba, Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, and the Chinese pipe master Fang Jinlong.
- Hardanger Music Festival. Commissioned work for the primary school. Participated in several concerts.
- Lacrimae Rerum: Commissioned concert for Josefine folk stage Duo concert with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
- Concerts in Copenhagen with Nystrøm / Venter duo at Frederiksberg Country Club and Frederiksberg Library.
Solo /duo and group concerts
- Festival Møtforestellinger-Performances; Concert with Geko Fattal and solo performance with text by South African resistance poet Wopko Jensma; for the Palestinian cause.
- Poing Christmas Concert. Soloist
As an actress.
Film premiere The Harvesters at the Cannes Film Festival.
As a singer, actor, and composer:
. Barnas Bål: Production, composition, and premiere in Tøyen church in Oslo, concerts at Showbox and in Tromsø.
. Welburn / Venter album recorded (Singer and co-composer)
. Stamsund Theater Festival. Concert with Øyvind Berg and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Performance where music and poetry are integrated. Commissioned work.
. Rolf Jacobsen dagene / Nordic Poetry Festival with Øyvind Berg and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
. The literature symposium in Odda with Øyvind Berg and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
. The vocal voice in Concept of Sorrows & Dangers by Lars Petter Hagen.
the closing concert of the Ultima Festival at Sentralen with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and conductor Ingar Bergby.
. Free improv concerts at BLÅ and Ila Fysikalske with Nystrøm and Joakim Heibø (drums)
. Vocal work on an installation in Riga by James Webb.
. Concert with the trio Poing and their Mob Christmas on the National Jazz Stage.
. The concert Human" in Cape Town. Blah blah bar.
. Harvestworks in New York. .Blue. premiere of Dalia Raudonikyte-With.
. Stamsund int. theatre festival. With the duo's own compositions.
1. Recorded the French-Polish-South African feature film The Harvesters in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa
2. The ship vol 3 with Det Utvalgte at the Black Box theatre.
As a singer /composer. Free improv and performance art.
- Participated with percussionist Daniel Paulsen on Rolf-Erik Nystrøm's commissioned work for the opening of the Munch Museum based on the paintings of the artists.
- commissioned and completed several concert assignments after the Munch Museum to create new smaller performances for invited guests with music specially adapted for the pictures.
- A performance dedicated to Edvard Munch with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. The opening of the Munch Museum's summer program at Ekely.
- Spacemouldmachine: A performance inspired by John Cage's Water Walk: with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. (Cape Town)
- Back to the Future: w / Cara Stacey (Cape Town) a futuristic music and food performance.
- The MultiNo festival with Alessandro Boratti, the Italian composer and pianist.
- Concert in Rovereto Italy with Alessandro Boratti. Music by John Cage, Anton Webern, Giacinto Scelsi + improvisations and music by Venter and Boratti.
- Performance /concert: Home 1: a place-specific performance with the Brazilian performance artist Fernanda Branco and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
- Shooting stars and hearts: with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and Brydon Bolton in Cape Town.
- Concert during Gambling Woman in Copenhagen. Works for motorcycle, voice, lap steel, and percussion. With Mette Zoe Matthiesen and Jim Neversink. Music by Arnold Schoenberg, Scelsi, Hank Williams, Merula, Nico, and own compositions.
- Concerts with Moe, Nystrøm, Li TiQiao, and Yu Miao in Beijing.
- Concert with Per Oddvar Johansen on the National Jazz Stage.
- Øykjelykkejesetra: Vinstra. Concert with Mats Eilertsen and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
- Concert with Sturm und Drang, Roar Engelberg, and Rolf-Erik Nystrøm in Ila church in Oslo.
- Performance with Poing on the Victoria national jazz scene.
As a singer and co-composer. Work with poetry and literature.
Commissioned work for the Oslo International Poetry Festival
a. Tesla Kannery: with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm.
b. Performance /concert with Øyvind Berg's poetry, together with Nystrøm and Øyvind Berg
c. Music for poems by and with Kai Miller.
1 South comfort in Oslo for vocals and Harley Davidson motorcycle. Outside Deichman Library at Schous plass
2. Solo concert during the concert series Bristepunktet in Oslo.
As an actress.
In Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht in the role of Yvette Pottier: Word Festival In Cape Town in addition to a longer tour with the performance in South Africa
- Historical documentation of the works of the industrial music pioneers Live Jimi Presley (contributes on the record)
- Composer of the music for the poem "This journey" A music compilation of South African poet Ingrid Jonker's work.
Producer, composer, and singer.
Vomo no 1 for vocals, noise, guitar, and 5 motorcycles.
Vomo no 2 for vocals, string quartet, African traditional bows, drums, and 7 motorcycles (in South Africa), of which she has performed versions in several countries.
- TV performance with music for a motorcycle, voice, and violin.
- Phantom globe; Wordfestival composer. selection Stellenbosch (with Gorm Hjelford, Jonno Sweetman, Brydon Bolton, Ronan Skillen.)
- International solo tour as a vocalist and composer. (Berlin, Copenhagen, Oslo, and London),with guest
appearances by Phil Winter from Wrangler, Jim Neversink, Viviana Vega, and Morten- Minothi Kristiansen.
- NK project Berlin with Umit Urgen as soloist and composer.
- Solo Il Sol Tace, an art and music work for orchestra and voice. By and with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and a hand-picked ensemble of leading improvisers. (Norway.)
- As a vocalist in a sound installation with sound artist James Webb (South Africa.)
- Radio presenter on Bush Radio. (Africa's first pirate radio station)
- Guest appearance at the concert that marked the release of the album with the Brazilian Habeca legend Nelson da Rabeca, w / Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, Celio de Carvalho, Erlend Viken (Norway)
- Guest vocalist with Poing during Pøbeljul. Victoria National Jazz Scene
- China / Beijing: w / Rolf-Erik Nystrøm, Miao Yu and Li Tieqiao
- Guest vocalist with the award-winning South African group Benguela.
- Leading role in the music-theatre performance Congress of Dreams as an actor and singer. Directed by Susanne Øglænd with music by Rolf-Erik Nystrøm. Black Box in Oslo. Together with Håkon Thelin, Trond Høvik, Per Oddvar Johansen, Anne Kokkinn, and others.
- Mother Courage (Bertolt Brecht) Directed by Jerry Mofokeng (South Africa) as a singer and actor, as part of Die Woordfees.