The Canadian Music Centre announces 2020 Harry Freedman Recording Award winner

For immediate release (April 7, 2020):

The Canadian Music Centre (CMC) and the Freedman family are pleased to announce that CMC Associate Composer Monica Pearce has won the 2020 Harry Freedman Recording Award, which includes a $3,000 prize, for her piece toile de jouy.

The Harry Freedman Recording Award was established in 2010 by the Freedman family to honour this leading figure in Canadian composition. The Award supports creative costs associated with making audio recordings for a selected Canadian composer’s music. Offered every other year, the Award is the primary activity of the Harry Freedman Fund, a permanent endowment administered by the Canadian Music Centre and managed by the Ontario Arts Foundation.

toile de jouy is a work for two-manual harpsichord, written by Pearce for the Toronto-based pianist/harpsichordist/toy pianist Wesley Shen for his harpsichord commissioning project. toile de jouy refers to a type of decorating pattern in which a complex scene is depicted and repeated on a simple, usually white background. The textile required a vast amount of creativity and technical detail to pull off—it is perhaps one of the most virtuosic fabrics of its time. toile de jouy is part of a set of a multiple-work piece entitled Textile Fantasies, based on the history and associations of various textiles/patterns. toile de jouy will be the cornerstone of the Textile Fantasies album, Monica Pearce’s debut chamber album.

A national jury consisting of Jennifer Butler, Lesley Hinger, Jennie Punter, and Robert Rowat reviewed a variety of compelling applications, but was drawn to Pearce’s work. “The jury was impressed not only by the cohesiveness of Monica Pearce’s project in general,” the jury members commented, “but also with the profusion of fresh ideas and seemingly effortless compositional technique on display in toile de jouy in particular.” They added that Monica’s “intrinsic partnership with harpsichordist Wesley Shen will ensure a recording of the highest standards.”

About Monica Pearce

Monica Pearce is an arts administrator, concert presenter, and composer specializing in opera, chamber music and everything toy-piano-related. Pearce’s work has been performed and commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, International Contemporary Ensemble, New Music Detroit, Chamber Cartel, Array Ensemble, Talisker Players, Essential Opera, Bicycle Opera Project, New Fangled Opera, TorQ Percussion Quartet, junctQín keyboard collective, and Thin Edge New Music Collective, among others. She was born in Prince Edward Island, began her professional career in Toronto, and recently relocated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Monica co-founded the emerging composer collective the Toy Piano Composers in 2008 with Chris Thornborrow. The Toy Piano Composers have presented over 120 new works and released their debut album Toy Piano Composers in 2017. Her operas have been performed across Canada and the United States. She is also active as a librettist and has collaborated with Cecilia Livingston on a song cycle on the life of Anne Frank entitled Singing Only Softly. Monica is an Associate Composer member of the Canadian Music Centre.

About the Canadian Music Centre (CMC)

The Canadian Music Centre is a catalyst that connects you to the ever-evolving world of musical creation in Canada through performance, education, and promotion. The CMC provides unique resources for exploring, discovering, and performing Canadian music. We are passionate about nurturing a musical community that honours our legacy and supports the professional development of Canadian musicians and composers. Since 2008, the CMC has presented a Classical Showcase annually at the JUNOS.

Connect with the Canadian Music Centre at, on Facebook (Canadian Music Centre), on Twitter (@cmcnational) or Instagram (@cmcnational).

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For further information and media inquiries, please contact:
Holly Nimmons, Director, Development & Communications
Phone: 416-371-6486    |     Email: [email protected]

Photo: Sean Gasser