A native of Santiago, Chile, Melissa Aldana began her music studies at the age of six with her father, Marcos Aldana, a well known and respected saxophone player in Chile. She got her start performing in Santiago jazz clubs as a teenager, and in 2005, while he was on tour, she met pianist Danilo Pérez and was invited to play at the Panama Jazz Festival. She went on to receive the Berklee Presidential Scholarship on 2007, and it was at Berklee where she started to develop her voice as a composer. She studied improvisation and composition with the best of the best: Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Frank Tiberi, Greg Osby, and Hal Crook among them. In 2013, at 24, she was the first female instrumentalist and the first South American musician to win the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, Of her win, the Washington Post described Aldana as representing “a new sense of possibility and direction in jazz.” Paste magazine named her among the “12 Women Influencing the Future of Jazz.” A resident of New York City, Melissa Aldana tours internationally.