Linda Pearse: Artistic Director
Canadian performer and musicologist Linda Pearse specializes in the musical repertoire of the seventeenth century. Pearse is Associate Professor of Music at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick) and serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at McGill University. Following studies at the Schola Cantorum (Basel), a career in Europe included regular performances with the Stuttgart Philharmoniker, the Stuttgart Opera House, the Basel Symphony, La Cetra, piano possibile, and the Stuttgart Musical Theater. Studies in performance at Indiana University Bloomington and musicology at McGill University round out her diverse international musical experiences. Pearse is Artistic Director of the San Francisco Early Music Baroque Workshop (USA) and the Sackville Festival of Early Music (Canada).
Pearse’s research, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) as well as the Canada Council for the Arts, FACTOR Canada and other bodies, focuses on intercultural encounters, music history pedagogy, and the performance of early European art music, drawing on historiographical, performative, and traditional musicological frameworks.
An enthusiastic and dedicated pedagogue, Pearse co-directs a research team with Margaret Walker (Queen’s, PI) and Sandria P. Bouliane (Laval, co-applicant) that brings together undergrad and graduate students from the three universities for the project “Changing Colonial Narratives in Music History” (SSHRC IDG 2021). In addition to directing a research lab in the summer months, she supports students working on Independent Student Research Grant projects, Experiential Learning courses, and Independent studies. Many of her students go on to study at Canada’s finest graduate institutions and to engage successfully in myriad other professional directions (e.g., arts administration, music education, music therapy). Her written publications bring her perspectives and experiences as a performer together with her consideration of intercultural encounter, musicology, and pedagogy.
In the artistic realm, Pearse creates intercultural projects with her collaborators Ann Waltner and John Watkins (University of Minnesota) that weave music, texts, images, and soundscapes.
How Do We Listen? tells the truth of the surviving family of a Shubenacadie Indian Residential School survivor, Virginia Acquin. The project combines soundscape, music, and text to create a performance which engages with historical and present cultural and religious contact in New Brunswick, all with an eye to the complex identities of Indigenous, specifically Wolastoqiyik and Mi’kmaq, and non-Indigenous peoples who reside in the region that is now known as the Province of New Brunswick (SSHRC IDG 2015; SSHRC Connection 2017; premiere Oct 2019; for documentary film and articles see links below).
The truths shared and spoken by Pearse's collaborator Angela Acquin (Wolastoqew) about her grandmother’s experiences at the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School lead the narrative and structure the performance. The work employs Indigenous music, seventeenth-century sacred Italian and German music, and newly commissioned compositions by jazz composer, Joel Miller. In addition to Acquin’s personal account, a spoken script includes contemporary Indigenous poetry by Rita Joe (Mi’kmaq; 1996) and Mihku Paul (Wolastoqiyik; 2012), historical documents, segments of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report (2015), and a script by Waltner. The musicians (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) perform soundscapes and whisper clusters that respond to and comment on the texts, and in part, are intended to represent the lost voices of the thousands of Indigenous children who died or succumbed to disease, drug abuse, or alcoholism as a result of their experiences at the Indian Residential Schools. The project is supported by film director and Elder Brian Francis (Mi'kmaq), and Elder J. J. Bear (Wolastoqiyik) who provided language support, directed smudge ceremonies, and shared his personal account of a Residential Day School in New Brunswick. (See links for documentary films and published articles.)
Other intercultural projects include Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music that premiered in China (2010), and that considers Matteo Ricci’s Map of the World (1602), writings by Chinese literati, and the music that might have surrounded him. Venetia 1500, a work inspired by the Barbari aerial woodcut of Venice (c.1500), weaves new music by Canadian Kevin Morse (Mount Allison), early European art music, texts, and images, to explore the gritty world of Venice in the sixteenth century, and finding resonance with Maritime cultures in decline (2015).
Since 2008, Pearse has directed the early brass and string ensemble ¡Sacabuche! Extensive touring has included performances in Beijing (China), Hong Kong and Macau (China), Hawaii, Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver Island, Calgary, Vancouver, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, New York, San Francisco, Bloomington (IN), Madison (WI), Kansas City, and Houston. In addition to work with ¡Sacabuche!, Pearse has performed with Tafelmusik, La Rose des Vents, Pacific MusicWorks (Seattle), The Toronto Consort, Music of the Baroque (Jane Glover), Ensemble Caprice (Montréal), and the Spiritus Chamber Choir (Timothy Shantz).
With ¡Sacabuche! she has released two albums on the ATMA label: 17th-Century Italian Motets with Trombone (Sept 2015) and Hidden Treasures: 17th-Century Music of Habsburg and Bohemian (April 2021). She has recorded for broadcast with Harmonia (NPR), IPR, and WFIU, and with Cappella Artemisia. Her critical edition of Seventeenth-Century Italian Motets with Trombone is published with A-R Editions (April 2014).
Shawn Bostick: Administrative Director
Shawn Bostick is a musician, educator, arts manager, and fundraiser living in Eastern Canada. He holds music degrees from Mount Allison University and St. Francis Xavier University. Shawn established the Atlantic Waves Imprint label during his tenure as Regional Director of the Canadian Music Centre. The label's second release Between the Shore and the Ships won two East Coast Music Awards, including the inaugural Classical Composition of the Year. In 2017 he joined the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra’s Moncton Sistema Centre as a Teaching Artist and also assumed the role of Administrative Assistant in May 2019. Shawn is currently co producing the 18th season of the Sackville Festival of Early Music. Shawn’s work as an arts and event manager has included ¡Sacabuche!, Shaun Leblanc, Dave Thomson, Mike Biggar, Kenny James, Live Bait Theatre, Chris Hadfield, and John Cleese.
Annika Williams: Festival Intern
Annika Williams is entering her final year of study as a soprano and music historian at Mount Allison University. She is from Midgic, New Brunswick and has participated in the Sackville Music Festival, New Brunswick Provincial Music Festival, New Brunswick Registered Music Teachers Association Competition and most recently the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. As a historian she has participated in the 2021 UNB Arts Matters Conference, where her paper "Unprecedented Tunes: Expressivity in Musical Responses to Pandemics" received an honorable mention, and this past spring her article "The Case of Florence Cook: Uncovering Local Women's History" was published in the 100th issue of The White Fence. This summer she was awarded an Independent Student Research Grant, funded by the J.E.A Crake Foundation, for her musicological work entitled "The Wicked Weeping Woman: A Reconsideration of Women's Agency in the Lament". As both a performer and musicologist Ms. Williams is an enthusiastic supporter of underrepresented composers from all time periods and the work being done to uncover these often ignored voices.
© 2021 Sackville Festival of Early Music created by Shawn Bostic