Jocelyn Morlock: An Ogling Eyeball into the World of Composer and Roommate


On March 26th the folks at Music on Main will be fêting the Canadian composer Jocelyn Morlock with a concert dedicated exclusively to her music. This is a singular opportunity to hear a hand-picked selection of some of her very best vocal and chamber music — including the premiere of a brand new piece for violin and piano entitled Vulpine. For this event I’ll be presenting two works of hers: I conversed with you in a dream for flute and piano with Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, and Vespertine for flute and harp with Joy Yeh. Moreover, you’ll be able to hear what I consider to be some of her most beautiful writing for voice: Involuntary Love Songs, featuring the soprano Robyn Driedger-Klassen and pianist Rachel Iwaasa. This concert is part of a series of events naughtily known as “One Night Stands”: evening-long musical exposés of a particular contemporary composer. To call this a special event is a profound understatement: Morlock’s music is positively fecund with gorgeous melodies, dark humour, and dreamy mysticism. (And yes, I really wanted to use the word “fecund”.)

Jocelyn’s work is well-documented on the internet. She maintains a website and a blog which is updated regularly, so learning more about her and her music is not a difficult thing to do. So instead of repeating details that are easily found elsewhere, I’ve decided to let you in on some of the darker machinations of this composer. You see, I’m not just Morlock’s colleague — I’m her roommate. We’ve shared an apartment (with Smokey, my geriatric pet newt) for some five years now in Vancouver. So, in the spirit of exposé, here are three oddities surrounding this Canadian composer that may (or may not — probably not, now that I think about it) help you appreciate her music:

1. The Kitchen Rule. In our apartment, gossip and secrets tend to be divulged in the kitchen. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with the proximity of both coffee and beer. That said, if one of us proclaims that what’s about to be said is “in the kitchen”, the listener is bound to secrecy and cannot judge the speaker in any way. Furthermore, one can “invoke the kitchen” without actually being in the kitchen — the most common non-kitchen location being the living room (because we’re simply too lazy to get up and walk five feet), though other “makeshift kitchens” have included public transit, the izakaya bar down the street, and a hotel room in Kelowna.

2. She might be a vampire. Morlock is convinced that she composes better at night. Unfortunately for her, there are all those pesky daylight hours getting in her way. So what does she do? Why, she convinces her body that it’s nighttime. All the time. When a commission deadline looms, she draws the blinds, lights candles in her room, and shuts out the world. On those rare occasions when she emerges from her studio, one finds her donning a housecoat and slippers — all this at 1:30pm in the afternoon. If you find me in a housecoat at midday it usually means I’m slacking off; encountering Jocelyn in a housecoat is like stumbling upon a head-bobbing iguana: stay out of the way, deadline is imminent!

3. She knits. To call Morlock an avid knitter is like saying it occasionally rains in Vancouver. If she isn’t composing, she’s knitting things that are both practical and beautiful. See, for example, the lovely red scarf she knitted me — it’s actually helping me play the marimba. Alright, I admit that’s a total lie: I was really just looking for an excuse to post this photo of me pretending to play a marimba (but seriously, she did knit me the scarf).


This photo doesn’t really do the scarf justice: they’re only a slightly visible here, but the scarf is covered (covered!) with round, wooly teats. Yes, that’s right: teats. When adorned properly, the scarf can make one’s torso resemble the underside of a she-wolf — striking to say the least, and a wonderful ice-breaker in almost any social situation. I ask you: when was the last time your roommate made you a scarf with teats? Hmm??

Music on Main presents

One Night Stand: Jocelyn Morlock with the Music on Main All-Star Band

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cellar Restaurant & Jazz Club

3611 West Broadway

Door opens at 6:30 pm, Music starts around 8:00 pm

Tickets: $25


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