Jocelyn Morlock was a Vancouver-based Canadian composer. She had a doctorate in musical arts from the University of British Columbia and, between 2014 and 2019, was composer in residence with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, her piece My Name Is Amanda Todd won the JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the Year.
My Name Is Amanda Todd is a work for large orchestra written in homage to the eponymous 15-year-old, who took her own life after suffering cyber abuse and years of harassment at school. Before departing, Amanda posted a video in which used flash cards to speak out against the bullying she had experienced. My Name Is Amanda Todd evokes not only the teenager’s victimization but also the positive aspects of her life and personality.
“I wanted to include how bright and wonderful a person she was, rather than just [the idea that] she was a victim, because she was so much more than that.” – Jocelyn Morlock
Morlock used various compositional processes to tell Amanda’s story. For example, a simple motif that repeats and proliferates symbolizes the messages that circulated on social media. Taken together, they can produce negative effects, as conjured by the instruments’ growing cacophony. A solo drum depicts Amanda’s isolation while the energetic intervention of the brass represents her strength and courage in confronting the harm inflicted on her. As the piece unfolds, the tensions dissipate and, at the end, a glimmer of optimism and hope appears. My Name Is Amanda Todd is a moving, thought-proving work.
© 2022 Florence Leyssieux
Translation by Craig Schweickert