SOCAN is mourning the loss of Vancouver-based composer and teacher Jocelyn Morlock, whose death, at the age of 53, was confirmed on March 28, 2023, in a press release from the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) School of Music, where she taught. No cause of death has been released yet, and no plans for a memorial have been made public yet. Canadian new classical music listeners, and especially Vancouver’s classical music community, are grieving, as Morlock is being remembered for her kindness, love of nature, teaching skills, and expressive music.
Recognized in Canada and internationally, Morlock was especially well-known and beloved in Vancouver, where she was the Composer in Residence for the Music on Main concert series from 2012-2014, and for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra from 2014-2019. In 2016, she earned the Mayor’s Arts Award for Music in Vancouver. Her symphonic piece My Name is Amanda Todd – inspired by the online-bullied Canadian teen who took her own life – won the 2018 JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year. The same year, she earned SOCAN’s Jan V. Matejcek Award, our annual prize for new classical music. Her compositions have been performed by, among others, the Vancouver Cantata Singers; the Pacific Baroque Orchestra; the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; the Saskatoon Symphony; and the Niagara Symphony.
Morlock’s music could be heartfelt and intense, deeply engaged with nature, or light and humourous. Among her influences, she listed “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.”
Born in St. Boniface, MB, Morlock became interested in music when her grandmother bought an upright piano for the family. She was instantly fascinated, and took piano lessons from a young age. After high school, Morlock studied piano performance at Brandon University, and then attended graduate school at UBC in Vancouver, where she eventually became an instructor. Her compositions have since become part of the fabric of new classical music in Vancouver, and across Canada.
SOCAN extends its condolences to Morlock’s family, friends, and listeners, whether in Vancouver, across Canada, or around the world.