Soprano and composer/songwriter Donna Linklater studied opera with Sylvia Richardson at Brandon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music. Toward the end of her studies, she began to focus on new music and was especially taken with the aleatoric music of John Cage which gave her greater freedom of creative expression.
After moving to Toronto, she began collaborating with clarinetist Julia Hambleton, and they founded the chamber group “The Laments” where she began arranging pieces by Debussy. She later began writing some folk(ish) songs and subsequently created 10 songs for her band The Billie Hollies’ debut album “Light of Mind” (produced by Paul Linklater). She directed the group into a more classical vein as a commissioned composer for the Susan Swan project “Heroines of the Sexual Gothic” and for the Globe and Mail’s “Torn from the Pages” Donna also has recently performed a selection of music by Kurt Weill with pianist Tania Gill.
A psychiatric survivor, her solo album “A Singer All Alone” was funded through Ontario Arts Council’s Deaf and Disability Arts program. After a dozen hospitalizations, a dozen diagnoses, and more than a dozen medications, she decided to document her journey through psychiatric wards, day programs, and being a compliant patient. The album explores themes of social isolation (both forced and desired), sadness, madness, and hearing voices, and how society deals with it.
Alongside writing music and performing, Donna’s other great loves are teaching music to children ages infant to 5 years, and making music with her 4 year old, Marvin. She was also the co-chair of CS Info’s board of directors for 2.5 years, volunteered coordinating music events for Mad Pride Toronto, and has had her writing published in the West End Phoenix.