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She has been a true crusader for the harpsichord and its golden age, the baroque period, founding the baroque music society Les Idées heureuses in 1987. Ms Soly initiated the idea of preceding concert pieces with explanatory presentations to enable concert-gœrs to share her passion for the richness of the 17th and 18 th century repertoire.
Ms Soly is one of the principal figures of the Québec baroque music scene. Her approach to baroque music combines a respect for authenticity with the spontaneity of the joyful and sometimes playful nature of the works performed. Her brilliant career as a solo harpsichordist has taken her throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. The CBC and Radio-Canada have recorded over one hundred of her solo recitals. She has performed at several prestigious music festivals, including the Festival International de Lanaudière, the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival and Atlantic Debut. She now devotes more and more of her work to musicological research so as to present lesser-known baroque works in concert.
Ms Soly studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal with Mireille and Bernard Lagacé and, in 1975, was a unanimous first prize winner in organ at the age of 18. She then studied in Europe with Gustav Leonhardt and Kenneth Gilbert, with the help of bursaries from the Canada Council for the Arts (1977-79) and the Québec Department of Cultural Affairs (1980). During that time, Ms Soly also studied 15 th and 16 th century baroque and keyboard music at international music academies, particularly with Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini and Michæl Radlescu. She won second prize in the 1981 Paul Hofhaimer International Organ Competition in Innsbruck, Austria. In 1992, she completed her doctorate in harpsichord performance at the University of Montreal.
Her ability to communicate and explain musical works in easily understandable terms to her audiences as well her determination in promoting the baroque repertoire earned her the Conseil québécois de la musique's 1997 Prix Opus in the Personality of the Year category.
Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre