An experienced orchestral musician, Holly has played with the London Mozart Players, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and Covent Garden Sinfonia. She has performed with the Hallé Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall and Nederlands Blazers Ensemble at the Concertgebeouw, Amsterdam, as part of Professional Experience Schemes. For the 22/23 season she was appointed one of two bassoonists as part of this year’s Southbank Sinfonia cohort, a chamber orchestra composed of young professionals from around the world, which each year brings together 33 graduate musicians for a programme of performance and professional development.
During her conservatoire studies Holly gained experience in all of the colleges’ major ensembles, including as Principal Bassoon for a performance of Mahler’s 5th Symphony at the RNCM, conducted by Vassily Sinaisky and later broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
Holly has a distinguished background as a chamber musician and regularly plays with her wind quintet, Festivo Winds. Festivo Winds have performed extensively across the North-West at venues including the Bridgewater Hall and Manchester Museum; as part of the Lake District Summer Music Patrons Series, Ilkley Concert Club and at Buxton International Festival. In 2018 they won both the John Fewkes Woodwind Prize and the Audience Prize at the Christopher Rowland Chamber Group of the Year competition at the RNCM, and in 2019 were invited to participate in the Tunnell Trust’s Music Coll Chamber course. They have recently performed at Keswick Music Society and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and in 2021 and 2022 were featured guests of the Manchester based composers collective UnHeard Hybrid Orchestra, performing to a sold out audience at the Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room.
An experienced soloist, in 2021 Holly was the joint overall winner of the RCM Solo Woodwind Prize. She was one of four wind soloists in a performance of Reynaldo Hahn’s ‘Concerto Provençal for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn and String Orchestra’ in November 2022. In October 2017 she performed Elgar’s Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra with the Manchester University Symphony Orchestra as a prize-winner in their concerto competition.
Holly has a keen interest in contemporary music and has performed works by Harrison Birtwistle, Paul Patterson and George Benjamin in the presence of the composers, the latter in a concert at the Wigmore Hall. She is passionate about collaborating with other musicians and composers. In 2018 she gave the world premiere of Dominic Skingle’s piece for bassoon and live electronics, ‘BrQn’.
With Festivo Winds, she has premiered a number of RNCM composers’ works for the Gold Medal competition and at Bridgewater Hall, as well as engaging in more unusual performances such as Yoko Ono’s art installation ‘Sky Piece to Jesus Christ’ at Leeds Arts University. The group recently appeared as featured guests with Manchester’s UnHeard Orchestra, and to date have premiered over 20 new works by young composers.
Holly was a part of the 2021-2022 cohort for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s NEXT Scheme, exploring contemporary works alongside other cohort musicians and receiving coaching from members of BCMG and other invited musicians.