Jocelyn Morlock

In Memoriam: Jocelyn Morlock


In Memoriam Jocelyn Morlock
(December 14, 1969 – March 27, 2023)

by David Pay

Like so many music lovers across Canada and around the world, I mourn the death of composer Jocelyn Morlock.

Jocelyn was a friend, a confidante, and an essential artist. She had been a part of Music on Main since its founding in 2006, and she was Music on Main’s first Composer in Residence from 2012-2014.

Her music, essays, and programming displayed intelligence. Her wit and love of nature and beauty came through in everything she did.

When she was Composer in Residence at Music on Main, Jocelyn Morlock spearheaded The Composer Essay Project and wrote, among several other essays, “A Compendium of Ideas About Form in Music” featuring interviews with Kaija Saariaho, Louis Andriessen, Michael Finnissy, and 12 other leading composers. Music on Main also commissioned American composer and music journalist Frank J. Oteri to write the 2013 essay “Jocelyn Morlock”.

Jocelyn said that her music was inspired by birds, insomnia, nature, fear, other people’s music and art, nocturnal wandering thoughts, lucid dreaming, death, and the liminal times and experiences before and after death.

I think of Jocelyn’s 2004 work Exaudi as a masterpiece.

Exaudi was written for the vocal ensemble musica intima and cellist Steven Isserlis. Jocelyn said that the piece was written out of love for her then-recently deceased grandmother whose husband had died at an early age: “As the music progresses, the cooler, ritualized aspects of the music are transformed into awe and terror, which gradually recede into something more calm.”

Listening to “Exaudi” today, I hear that love, that awe, and an eventual, cathartic calm.

“Exaudi” ends with the choir singing poetry about entering into paradise. The words are what I, and all her friends, wish for Jocelyn:

May the angels lead you into paradise…

May the chorus of angels receive you…

may you have eternal rest.



An event paying tribute to the life and music of Jocelyn Morlock took place on May 24, 2023 at the Vancouver Playhouse.  For more information, click here.