Home 9 Composers 9 MONICA PEARCE

Monica Pearce is a Canadian composer specializing in opera, chamber music and everything toy-piano-related. She was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, began her professional career in Toronto, and recently relocated to Brownsville, Texas after a couple of years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Pearce’s work has been performed and commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Elektra Women’s Choir, New Music Detroit, Array Ensemble, Talisker Players, Essential Opera, Bicycle Opera Project, TorQ Percussion Quartet, junctQín keyboard collective, and Thin Edge New Music Collective, among others. Her operas have been performed across Canada and the United States, and toured across Ontario, and her toy piano works are frequently played internationally. In October 2022, she released her debut album, a multi-work piece entitled Textile Fantasies. In addition to her work as a composer, Monica is active as a librettist, and her written works have been performed by Loose Tea Theatre, Bicycle Opera Project, Opera Nova Scotia, Vocalypse Productions, Caution Tape Sound Collective, and the Toy Piano Composers. 

OTTER - mvt. 15 from "The Lost Words"

by Monica Pearce

SSAA – CP 2202 – duration 3:55

The text for “Otter” is playful, sneaky and filled to the brim with near rhythms; its tone has the same constantly moving, slippery energy of a young otter falling in love with water.

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.

WILLOW - mvt. 19 from "The Lost Words"

by Monica Pearce

SSAA – CP 2206 – duration 5:32

The secretive, mysterious words of “Willow”, conjures all hushed tones and listening for the smallest sounds. It also brought up memories ofgrowing up, and reading books about characters reading by a willow tree – while sitting under a regular maple tree.