Alison Melville

Long recognized as one of North America’s leading performers on recorder and historical flutes, Toronto-born Alison Melville first began playing in an after-school class in junior school, in London, UK.

Her extraordinary breadth of experience as a performer on recorders and historical flutes comprises solo and chamber music recitals; music for dance, theatre, film and television; orchestral work with modern and period instrument orchestras; concerts in venues more varied than you can imagine, from Boston’s Jordan Hall or Tokyo’s Bunkamura Theatre to inner-city schools, ferry boats and prisons; musical repertoire from the 12th to 21st centuries, composed, arranged and improvised; and music from Celtic and Scandinavian traditions. She plays medieval, renaissance, baroque and modern recorders; renaissance, baroque and classical flutes and one-keyed piccolo; and Norwegian seljefløyte.

Trained in Toronto, London, and at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis as the winner of numerous awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, her career as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player has taken her across Canada and the USA and to Iceland, Japan, New Zealand and Europe.

A member of the Toronto Consort, Ensemble Polaris, and artistic director of the multi-arts ensemble The Bird Project, Alison Melville also appears regularly as a soloist and orchestral player with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, with whom she can be heard on their JUNO Award-winning recordings of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and orchestral music of Jean-Philippe Rameau, and on numerous other Sony, Analekta and CBC Records CDs.

Alison has been a guest with other chamber ensembles, orchestras and festivals across North America, and has played on over fifty CDs, including several critically acclaimed solo recordings. Her playing has been heard on numerous radio stations including the CBC, BBC, NPR, Radio New Zealand and the Iceland State Broadcast Service, on the soundtracks of ‘The Tudors’ and films by Atom Egoyan, Ang Lee and Amnon Buchbinder. For several years she also was a fixture on CBC-TV’s ‘The Friendly Giant.’

Together with Colin Savage, Alison co-founded and co-directed Baroque Music beside the Grange, a chamber music series which presented over 178 concerts in one of Toronto’s oldest historic churches between 1986 and 2006. Since then BMBG has assisted various ensembles in co-presentation of various concerts, and in 2010-11 will be presenting a few ‘one-off’ programs at the Heliconian Hall in Toronto (see the ‘Upcoming’ page for more info!).

Her adventures with the world of early dance have included collaborations with several of North America’s leading historical dancers, including Catherine Turocy, Elaine Biagi Turner and Ken Pierce. And last but not least, her recent explorations in arrangement and composition have been heard across Canada and the USA with Peter Hannan’s ‘900 Years of Music,’ the ‘Post-Medieval Syndrome’ project, Ensemble Polaris, and the Bird Project.

Alison Melville was a member of the teaching faculty at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music (Oberlin, Ohio) from 1999 until 2010, when she resigned to devote more time to an increasingly busy performing schedule. She is currently on faculty at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.