The Canadian organist and harpsichordist, Geneviève Soly, studied at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal with Mireille Lagacé 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 (1977-1979) and the Québec Department of Cultural Affairs (1980). During that time, she also studied 15th and 16th 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 Université de Montréal.
An exceptional musician, Geneviève Soly turned her passion for the harpsichord and the Baroque era into a lifelong endeavour when in 1987 she founded in Montreal the Baroque music society Les Idées heureuses. She 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 18th century repertoire. She has produced over 75 concert programmes with commentary in that city, in addition to programming for various festivals. She is currently devoting herself to her career as a solo harpsichordist and as music director of the Ensemble des Idées heureuses.
Geneviève 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 USA 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.
The high degree of specialization Geneviève Soly has attained in her field, however, is especially due to her inquiring mind and her personal research. She now devotes more and more of her work to musicological research so as to present lesser-known Baroque works in concert. She is largely responsible for rediscovering the harpsichord works of Christoph Graupner, a distinguished contemporary of J.S. Bach. In February 2001, she launched a musical and musicological project aimed at promoting the music of this almost forgotten composer, of whom she is currently one of the most eminent specialists. In addition to the Analekta recordings, this initiative includes the preparation of a new edition of his harpsichord works, the writing of articles, lectures (given in Canada, the USA, France, and Switzerland), master-classes (Conservatoire national supérieur de Paris, Conservatoire régional de Metz, Faculté de musicologie de Nancy), and a number of concerts in solo and with the Ensemble des Idées heureuses. This ensemble will perform in European festivals, including the Bruges festival, starting in the summer of 2004. The international press is unanimous in praising the quality and the importance of Geneviève Soly’s performances and musicological endeavours.
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.