Born into a family of renowned Québécois musicians, Geneviève Soly was eight years old when she realised that she was going to be a performer. This revelation came while she was listening to an LP recording of Sviatoslav Richter playing Robert Schumann’s Fantasiestücke. Schumann remains the composer dearest to her heart.
Her passion for the baroque period led her to found Les Idées heureuses in 1987. This Montreal organization has produced more than 200 concerts, and presented more than 400. In this context, she has also programmed several festivals and organized two harpsichord competitions. Geneviève Soly is both a performer and a musicologist whose active career as a harpsichordist parallels her work on the development of the Graupner Project and her role as musical and artistic director of Les Idées heureuses.
As a harpsichordist, Geneviève Soly has given hundreds of recitals for which she enjoys providing the commentary. She has played in duos with gambist Jay Bernfeld and with violinist Viktoria Mullova. Since 2006, she has given solo performances at the Centre de musique baroque in Versailles, at the Bruges and Utrecht early music festivals, as well as in Modena, Basel and Berlin.
Her musical and musicological undertaking to rediscover and disseminate the work of Christoph Graupner, an eminent and long-neglected contemporary of J.S. Bach, began in February 2001. In addition to ten recordings of Graupner’s music for Analekta, she has given workshops and lectures (at the Bruges Early Music Festival, the national Conservatoires in Paris and Lyon, the reginonal Conservatoires in Metz and Toulon, the departments of musicology in Nancy and Fribourg, to name a few), and has played and presented recitals and concerts with Les Idées heureuses in North America and Europe. After three European tours with Les Idées heureuses (2006, 2007 and 2009), Geneviève Soly is currently preparing an edition of Christoph Graupner’s harpsichord works, and continues to work on the extensive corpus of his religious works which she is helping make known.
Her recordings of Graupner’s music were hailed by critics and were selected as Disc of the Month on several occasions by Classicstodayfrance.com, Classicstoday.com, Diapason, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, the French magazine Classica Répertoire and the New York Times. The international press has unanimously acknowledged the importance of Christoph Graupner as well as the exceptional quality of Geneviève Soly’s work as a performer and a musicologist.
Well-known for her skills as pedagogue and communicator, Geneviève Soly teaches music history at the CAMMAC music camp. Since 2008, she has been guest lecturer at the Arte Musica foundation of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Geneviève Soly is one of the central figures in baroque music in Quebec whose skills as a communicator, a popularizer and administrator, as well as the energy she devoted to disseminating baroque music were recognized by a Prix Opus, awarded by the Conseil québécois de la musique in the category of La Personnalité de l’année. She was named La Personnalité de la semaine by the Montreal daily La Presse in its April 2, 2006 edition.