Founder, Executive and Artistic Director
Musician, Performer, Educator
Recognized as an innovative leader and arts professional, Melissa Richmond (She/Her/Hers) is an experienced and award-winning non-profit executive, music educator, and performer. In 2015, She was awarded the Governor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Arts Leadership for her work with the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts and the City of Claremont’s 250th Celebration. Melissa founded the Summer Concert Series at Union Church, which has now expanded into the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (WCCMA). For 15 years, she has served as WCCMA’s Founding Executive and Artistic Director, increasing programming, growing impact, and now leading the charge for the Homecoming Campaign for the new downtown Claremont Creative Center. Through her work with WCCMA and Saint-Gaudens Memorial, Melissa maintains a performing arts program hosting local, national, and internationally recognized musicians. Through WCCMA, she founded the Youth Arts Enrichment Initiative which gives students access to musical instruments, lessons, workshops, and artist residencies. Melissa is also a founding member – with Dinuk Wijeratne and Nick Halley – of the Bach Tree, a program for cultivating creative and collaborative musicians.
Melissa brings her deep commitment to the arts and Claremont to her work with various City and nonprofit boards and commissions, including the New England Foundation for the Arts Advisory Council, the Claremont Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the Claremont MakerSpace, and the Union Episcopal Church. Her past service includes serving as Executive Director of the Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce, organizing and playing with several local orchestras and bands, volunteering for the Claremont 250th Celebration Committee, the Our Kids Commission of the NH Episcopal Diocese, the City of Claremont Master Plan Committee, the City Center Initiative Committee, and the Claremont Farmers’ Market Association.
In performance Melissa is regarded as a sensitive collaborator and engaging soloist. A passionate flutist, Melissa gave the world premiere performance of Kinan Azmeh’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in 2014. She has also performed as a soloist in the Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America Series, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College’s Classical Salon Series, Keene State College, WCCMA’s Concert Series, and at Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park – where she serves as Music Director for Saint-Gaudens Memorial. Her role at SGM includes curating programming and venue coordination with the National Park Service to present 10 concerts per year. Melissa has shared the stage with Sally Pinkas, Jose Lezcano, Dinuk Wijeratne, Nick Halley, Virginia Eskin, Lisa Ferrigno, and Angela Biggs. She has performed with a number of professional and community performance ensembles in North America including Symphony Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University Orchestra, Dalhousie University Wind Ensemble, Windham Orchestra, Sage City Orchestra, and Keene Chamber Orchestra. Melissa recently received a grants from New England Foundation for the Arts from the Public Art Learning Fund and the NHSCA NH CARES Artist Led Project Fund to enhance her professional development and creative output during the pandemic.
Melissa graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Music Degree as a flute/piccolo major, and from New England College with an MS Management Degree in Non-Profit Leadership. During her music degree she studied flute with Elizabeth Dubois McCarthy, flute/piccolo with Christine Feierabend, as well as performed in masterclasses and workshops for Patricia Creighton, Paolo Bortolussi, Suzanne Lemieux, and Ivor Rothwell.
Melissa has a passion for collaboration, inspiring music makers and youth, and an abiding commitment to access. Her values drive her approach to program creation, performance, presenting, and education.