Home 9 Composers 9 Marie-Claire Saindon
A classical violin student, Marie-Claire Saindon first showed an interest in composition while in high school, where she wrote and produced her first musical, “Jeanne”. She was then able to publish her first women’s choir piece, “Le train d’hiver” in 2006, which then inspired her to write more often for that specific choral voicing. While studying folk violin in her spare time, Ms. Saindon completed a Bachelor’s degree in Composition at the Schulich School of Music (McGill) in 2007 and a Master’s degree in Composition: Film and Multimedia music at Université de Montréal in 2010. In 2013, she won first place in the SOCAN Young Composers’ National Awards in the Godfrey-Ridout vocal category with her choral work Øst for vinden (2012). She has since then been commissioned by many ensembles, including Concerto Della Donna, a women’s vocal ensemble in which she also performed from 2009 to 2014.

Marie-Claire Saindon débuta ses études en violon classique. À l’école secondaire, elle écrit et produit sa première œuvre, «Jeanne», et publia sa première pièce pour choeur de femmes en 2006, «Le train d’hiver».  Cette publication lui permit entre autre d’écrire plus souvent dans ce style. Tout en étudiant la musique folklorique de manière autodidacte, Mme Saindon compléta un baccalauréat en musique (composition) à l’École de musique Schulich (université McGill) en 2007 et une maîtrise en composition: film et multimédia en 2010 à l’université de Montréal.  Depuis, elle reçoit plusieurs commandes d’ensembles tels Concerto Della Donna, un groupe vocal de 18 voix féminines avec qui elle a aussi chanté de 2009 à 2014. En 2013, elle a gagné la première place au concours national des jeunes compositeurs de la Fondation SOCAN dans la catégorie vocale Godfrey-Ridout avec son œuvre chorale Øst for vinden (2012).

Blinded by a Leafy Crown

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA a cappella (for two SSA choirs) – CP 1809 – duration 6:20
SATB a cappella – CP 2337
In her poem “Leaves”, Sarah Teasdale compares her faiths and beliefs to leaves – of a tree, or, in her very evocative analogy, a crown of leaves. This is a piece for two treble choirs, begins with the falling of our faiths, one by one, as voices intermingle like autumn leaves: one choir remains on the beat, and the other weaves on through with syncopations. As we look back at the past, during a time when our faiths still had a stronghold, the music becomes joyous and carefree. But it does not last long. When the sadness of the loss of the leaves takes hold, the music grieves a while, until the full realisation hits us: “Blinded by a leafy crown / I looked neither up nor down”. This is the most
stately moment of the text: simple but to the point. What follows is then a celebration of all the new things we can experience now that we are rid of our old blinders and prejudices. The music swells and expands in extasy of our new freedom, and ends in hushed humility and gratitude. 


Deux/Two Solitudes

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SATB a cappella – CP 2177 – duration 6:15


by Marie-Claire Saindon
poem by Jocelyne Verret

SATB a cappella – CP 2062 – duration 3:45
“Emmène-moi” is a plea to a lover : to be taken to a place where the sun, rain, and storm of their passion cleanses them of everything superfluous, and where nothing remains but their joined essence.
“Emmène-moi” est le cri de cœur d’un amant : de nous emmener vers le soleil, la pluie et la tempête de nos passions pour se laver des impuretés pour se retrouver seuls, ensemble.
Emmène-moi vers l’inédit,
le non-dit, le mal dit, le bien dit.
Take me to that unnamed place,
to the edge of the unbearable.


KINGFISHER - (from "The Lost Words")

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with piano – CP 2198   – duration 2:35

What attracted me to Kingfisher is how the majority of the text lists many rhythmically similar names for the bird: it really does feels like a quick-paced, percussive, energetic spell to call that colourful little flash of a bird to life!

Please read notes about “THE LOST WORDS” below – under “Weasel”.




by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings – CP 1440 – duration 12:00
Individual movements listed below.
Grand in scope and poignant in effect, Marie-Claire has written this wonderful work for women’s choir. Poems from three different sources illuminate aspects of the immaculate conception.

String parts (Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello) – $20 for the set – sent via PDF
Conductor’s Score for the complete trilogy – $25 – ring bound score.


Méditations de la Vierge Marie (2010)

Méditations de la Vierge Marie, originally written for a Christmas concert which focused on the Virgin Mary, is a triptych portraying different thought processes that one could imagine the Holy Mother going through once she’s learned of her new saintly role. Originally set for women’s voices and a string quartet, the songs are simple, yet evocative.

The first movementL’annonce, sets a text by Albert Lozier, who mused at how a young woman – practically still a girl – would think about God’s plan for her, what she had previously hoped for in life, and how she herself plans to follow through with her new role. A very direct text, the music supporting it is a simple melody with simple harmonies – one could even say of a pastoral colour.

The second movementLe secret de Dieu (text by Hélène Harbec), is a little more introspective in nature. Whispering voices open the movement, setting the mood for the first statement “Si je parvenais à connaître […] le secret de Dieu, je n’en soufflerais mot par simple humilité” (“Even if I were to understand […] the secret of God, I would not breathe a word out of humility”). However, she catches herself, and decides these are not the right thoughts to have. And so she begins again: “Si je parvenais à connaître […] le secret de Dieu, je dirais tout par amour” (“If I were to understand […] the secret of God, I would tell everything out of love”). The music reflects both statements: the first, introspective, humble, quite hidden – the second, the orchestration opens up to reflect the sharing of the secret to all, for the sake of love.

The third movementMerci mon Maître (text by Albert Belzile), sets the speaker (in this case, one can easily imagine the Virgin Mary) talking directly to God, and trying to explain with how many ways one could express thanks for this Master that loves us unconditionally. The first part of the movement follows the text in its imagery: “Je veux te dire merci en psaumes, en langues, en fleurs sauvages, en météores lointains, en méduses célestes …” (“I would like to tell Thee [thank you] in psalms, tongues, wild flowers, distant meteores, celestial tendrils …”). We then come to a halt when the Virgin Mary realizes that words are far too limited to express in detail how to thank the Lord. And so, she simply says thank you – for loving us with an eternal love. There, the music opens up gradually to imitate this eternity, and finishes off simply with a last “Thank you”.

1) L’annonce

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings – CP 1436 – duration 3:20
Movement #1 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie.
Please see the notes below.

2) Le secret de Dieu

by Marie-Claire Saindon
SSAA with keyboard or strings – CP 1437 – duration 4:30
Movement #2 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie.
Please see the notes below.

3) Merci mon Maitre

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings – CP 1438 – duration 4:10
Movement #3 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie.
Please see the notes below.


by Marie-Claire Saindon

SATB a cappella – CP 1808   – duration 2:30
SSAA a cappella – CP 1805
SSAB a cappella – CP 2279
Shrieks of sun, colours of the ocean, rock, crackling ice, shivering snow and wind; Terre-Neuve is a love-letter to the powerful geology and ancient mysteries found on the east coast of Canada.
SSAA version – commissioned by Elektra Women’s Choir
SATB version – commissioned by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada



Weasel - (from "The Lost Words")

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with piano – CP 2205   – duration 1:22

Weasel: it curls, it whirls, and it sparks-this short, alliterate, and active little spell invokes the image of a spinning weasel to life as a flame. It reminds me that fire can be so much fun to conjure through music too, and I hope I’ve done it justice!

When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary – widely used in schools around the world – was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. The words were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attach-ment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions – the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual – became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

In response, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that would conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren.
Morna Edmundson, Elektra Women’s Choir director, decided to commission 10 composers to write 2 compositions each – 20 compositions set to the poetry of Robert Macfarlane – and a fabulous concert program was born (premiered in 2022). These pieces are available individually and also as a complete book. They can be performed with piano alone or with instrumentation; flute/piccolo, violin, cello, clarinet/bass clarinet and marimba/percussion.