HOLLY GWYNNE-TIMOTHY has been immersed in early music as a singer, choral conductor and voice teacher for over 30 years in Ontario and in the USA. She split her undergraduate studies between voice performance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and languages and musicology at the University of Toronto (Trinity College and the Faculty of Music). In 2013, Holly moved to Kingston with her family, where, in addition to directing Melos, she teaches voice at home and for Kingston’s Upper Canada Academy of Performing Arts, and at the H’art School of Smiles.
As a singer, she performed for nine years with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir in Toronto and did occasional chorus work for Opera Atelier. For seven years she was the soprano soloist with the quintet, Sine Nomine, at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto. With Sine Nomine she researched and performed music from the 9th to the 16th centuries, giving lecture-demos and concerts at universities in Ontario, at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and for medieval academic conferences in Montreal and England.
She completed two commercial recordings with Sine Nomine: A Golden Treasury of Medieval Music for Saydisc in England, and The Art of the Chant, a CD/ROM release for Inside the Vatican with Sir Peter Ustinov (Jasmine Multimedia). She also directed a documentary soundtrack and CD release: Dry Bones: Christianity in Transition. In 2002 she founded two choral ensembles in Niagara, the Hildegals and the Cloister Voices, performing music of the 12th to 17th centuries.
In 2012 she re-established the Hildegals and the Cloister Voices in eastern Ontario. Holly is drawn to the transcendent spiritual qualities of early music, to the earthy, “roots” -evoking qualities of the instruments, the ancient tunes and the early polyphony of the middle ages and renaissance. She sees the Baroque era, with all its virtuosity and formality, as a natural extension of the genius that preceded it, which can be explored with its musical precedents in illuminating ways. She hopes to see Kingston grow as an early music centre, with its gorgeous location and history and community that nourishes arts, history and culture so well.