Associate Professor, Music
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Canadian Linda Pearse is recognized as a Baroque bass trombonist and specialist in the exquisite musical repertoire of early seventeenth-century Italy. Pearse is Associate Professor of Music at Mount Allison University (New Brunswick) and serves as Adjunct Lecturer for Early Trombones at Indiana University Bloomington. Following studies at McGill University and the Schola Cantorum (Basel), her 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. Pearse is Artistic Director of the San Francisco Early Music Baroque Workshop (USA) and the Sackville Festival of Early Music (Canada). Pearse is also Artistic Director of the award-winning early brass and string ensemble ¡Sacabuche! Extensive touring includes performances in Beijing (China), Hong Kong and Macau (China), Chicago, Seattle, Victoria, Nanaimo, Salt Spring 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 engaged in recent performances with 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).
Her critical edition of Seventeenth-Century Italian Motets with Trombone is published with A-R Editions (April 2014). Pearse has taught Baroque trombone at the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute Summer Workshop (2014) and the San Francisco Baroque Workshop (2013-present). As a specialist of Baroque music, Pearse is a sought-after chamber musician and performs with specialist ensembles across the Canada and USA. Pearse has recorded for broadcast with Harmonia (NPR), IPR, and WFIU, and recorded with Cappella Artemisia and on the ATMA label with ¡Sacabuche!'s release 17th-Century Italian Motets (Sept 2015). ¡Sacabuche!'s music is regularly featured on CBC radio, NPR stations across the USA, as well as on Radio New Zealand. In addition, Pearse maintains an active performance career with her regional brass ensemble, and appears as a performer with Symphony New Brunswick, Tutta Musica, and other regional ensembles.
In addition to traditional music programming, Pearse engages in interdisciplinary projects with her primary collaborator Ann Waltner that weave music, texts, images, and soundscapes. Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music premiered in 2010 has toured to China and across the continental USA. Venetia 1500 is inspired by the Barbari Aerial Woodcut of Venice from 1500, and creates a conversation between new music, early music, texts, and images, that finds resonances with Maritime cultures in decline. How Do We Listen? is an interdisciplinary artistic work that weaves 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. The truths shared and spoken by Pearse's collaborator Angela Acquin 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 the Acquin 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. We continue to be supported in our work by Dorchester Elder J. J. Bear (Wolastoqiyik) who has provided language support, directed smudge ceremonies, and shared his personal account of a Residential Day School in New Brunswick.
Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Bloomington, 2011
Doctor of Music, Brass Pedagogy, Trombone
Minor fields: Music History and Music Theory
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Basel, Switzerland
Master of Music degree, Baroque trombone performance, 2006
F. M. Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course, Basel Swizterland
Certification, Teacher of the F. M. Alexander Technique, 2002
Hochschule für Musik, Trossingen, Germany
Artist Diploma, 2000
McGill University, Montréal Canada
Bachelor of Music, Jazz Performance; graduated with distinction, 1996
Vivian Lee, Trombonist, Montréal Symphony Orchestra
Abbie Conant, Hochschule für Musik, Germany
Guy-Noël Conus, Sinfonie Orchester Basel
Markus Wuesst, Sinfonie Orchester Basel
Charles Toet, Schola Cantorum Basieliensis, Switzerland
Carl Lenthe, Indiana University
M. Dee Stewart, Indiana University
Peter Ellefson, Indiana University
BOOK (CRITICAL EDITION)
Pearse, D. Linda, editor (2014), “Seventeenth-Century Italian Concerted Motets with Trombone”, vol. 19, Second Series, Collegium Musicum: Yale University, Middleton, WI: A-R Editions
Pearse, D. Linda, Ann Waltner, Nicholas Godsoe (2017), "Historically Informed Soundscape: Mediating Past and Present", Journal of Sonic Studies, issue 15, 2017.
Pearse, D. Linda (2016), "Immediate Feedback: Principles from the Performing Arts Studio", Mount A Teaches, edited by Louise Wasylkiw and Jennifer Tomes, pp. 195–212.
Waltner, Ann, Qin Fang, D. Linda Pearse (2011), “Performing Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music”, Ming Studies, Journal of the Society for Ming Studies, vol. 62, pp. 1–24.
(2015) “Berühmte Posaunen-Virtuosen: Friedrich August Belcke, Carl Traugott Queisser, Albert Robert Müller, Joseph Serafin Alschausky & Posaunisten des Gewandhausorchesters Leipzig [Famous Trombone Virtuosos: Friedrich August Belcke, Carl Traugott Queisser, Albert Robert Müller, Joseph Serafin Alschausky & Trombonists of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra] by Rolf Handrow (Reichenberg, Germany: Crescendo-Brass GbR, 2014). Printed in German. Review published in International Trombone Association Journal, vol. 43, no. 3, July 2015, pp. 49–50.
(2013) “The Trombone in the Renaissance: A History in Pictures and Documents” by Stewart Carter
(Bucina: Historic Brass Society; Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2012). Review published in Historic Brass
Society Journal, December 2013, pp. 57–61.
(2011) Pearse, Linda. "An Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Italian Motets with Trombones." Dissertation, Indiana University Bloomington.
(2006) “A Catalog of Italian Sacred Vocal Works with Trombone, 1600–1660,” Master of Music Thesis,
Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Basel, Switzerland.
RECORDINGS and BROADCASTS
Video Recording (in press, anticipated October 2017), Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music; Label: DirectLight Studios, San Francisco, CA USA; Role: Artistic Director, Performer, Co-Producer
CD Recording (2015), 17th-Century Italian Motets, ¡Sacabuche!, https://atmaclassique.com/en/albums/albuminfo.aspx?albumid=1539
Label: ATMA Classique Role: Artistic Director, Performer, Executive Producer
PRI Broadcast Recording (2015), Theory in Music — Music in Theory: Performing and Composing music Theorists of the 15th to 17th Centuries, with Indiana University Historic Performance Institute, Public Radio International (PRI) – Harmonia, Christmas Broadcast 2015, recorded
October 16–17, 2015
PRI Broadcast Recording (2014), A Baroque Christmas in the New World, with Indiana University Historic
Performance Institute, Public Radio International (PRI) – Harmonia, Christmas Broadcast 2014, recorded
October 23–26, 2014
Role: Performer Link: http://indianapublicmedia.org/harmonia/baroque-christmas-world/
CD Recording (2014), Stepping Out with the Mount A Jazz Ensemble, Sackville, NB.
Role: Artistic Director, Co-Producer
CD Recording (2006), Raphaella Aleotti: Le Monache di San Vito, Cappella Artemesia, Italy. Role: Performer
SRF Broadcast recording (2004), Adolf Wölfli, Ruedi Häusermann (director), Theater Basel, Basel,
Swizterland. Role: Performer
CD Recording (2002), Decasia, Michael Gordon (composer), Basel Sinfonietta, Basel, Switzerland. Role: Performer
Grants, awards, & honours
Paul Paré Award for Excellence, Research, Mount Allison University, 2016
Marjorie Young Bell Faculty Fellow 2012–2014, funding for the creation of the interdisciplinary project
Venetia 1500, premiered in Sackville, September 29, 2013
SSHRC, Insight Development Grant, Musical Mappings in the Early Modern World: Encounters, Exchanges,
Collisions, June 2015. Lead applicant – Pearse; Collaborators – Ann Waltner and John Watkins (University of
Factor Canada, Juried Recording Projects, ¡Sacabuche! recording project, 17th Century Italian Motets with
New Brunswick Arts Board, Arts By Invitation, ¡Sacabuche! Minneapolis Tour, Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music,
Venetia 1500, Italy Invades Poland!, April 2014
Canada Council for the Arts, Travel Grants to Musicians, ¡Sacabuche! Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music, Tour to
China, June 2013
New Brunswick Arts Board, Documentation Grant, ¡Sacabuche! Venetia 1500, 2012–2013
Canada Council Grant for Performing Musicians, Doctoral Studies, June 2009
Canada Council Grant for Performing Musicians, Doctoral Studies, June 2008
Winner of the Early Music America International Collegium Musicum Competition, January 2009
Indiana University, Office of the Vice President of International Affairs Research/Travel Grant for research in
Kraków, Poland, May 2008
My teaching activity is student focussed and continually evolving. Evidence of success can be found in the placement of my students in top graduate programs (USA and Canada) and professional spheres, positive feedback from anonymous evaluations and unsolicited emails, and teaching assessments. I create safe learning environments and engage students in pedagogical processes through role-playing, immediate group feedback, and teaching exchanges. My teaching is innovative as evidenced by experiential learning activities such as “Flash Mob Brass Lessons at the corner of Bridge and Main” where students engaged unsuspecting community members in impromptu brass lessons. My work is also influential and has inspired an interdisciplinary component of a course at Macalaster University (USA). I strive for a clear articulation of ideas, expectations, and grading methods and I engage in opportunities for pedagogical improvement through regular participation in PCTC workshops and Teaching Triangles, reading books and blogs on teaching, and through peer assessment. I have recently engaged in teaching scholarship by contributing an article for the Mount A Teaches publication on immediate feedback in the performing arts studio.
My recent teaching experience includes teaching applied lessons in two very different university settings: Indiana University Bloomington, a large American state school and Mount Allison University, a small leading liberal arts undergraduate university in New Brunswick. The students at these schools are quite different. The IU students, for the most part, want careers as orchestral or freelance players. They come to me through the Juilliard pre-college program or have had lessons with major teachers from a young age. I work primarily with masters and doctoral students who are technically accomplished musicians. My goal is to inspire them, to introduce them to new repertoire and stylistic approaches, and to convey my enthusiasm for and love of the early trombone repertoire. Through my research on early music for trombone, I have access to thousands of pieces that they are not aware of. My excitement transfers to them easily. We work on refining their musical taste and sensibility, honing their chamber music skills, and preparing them for professional careers.
At Mount Allison University, I teach undergraduate students. The students display greater variety in choice of career path. Some want to go on in performance, while others want to become teachers, music therapists, doctors, lawyers, musicologists, sound engineers, and composers. Some have had solid instruction on their instrument and others arrive with holes in their technical abilities. These students have made me a better teacher. I have had to learn how to explain and teach concepts that I absorbed unconsciously at a very young age from good teachers and performers. I have had to develop different teaching strategies because the students learn in very different ways. Some need me to analyze and articulate a concept, and others fare better when we use images, visual cues, and externally focussed stimuli. This experience has stretched me and my teaching in a good way.
I incorporate things I learn from my students into my life as a performer. Primarily, I do this by asking my students questions and by listening to their observations. My master classes are always interactive, and after a student has performed, I solicit feedback and comments from the audience. In one masterclass, a student was struggling with articulation. His tonguing was heavy and ‘thuddy’ and it sounded like the air was not moving well through his horn. I asked the other students in the room if they had any imaginative examples that might help their colleague. One of my fourth-year students piped up and said “I imagine that I am spitting sunflower seeds into the audience to lighten up my tonguing”. We tried it and it worked. I liked the way the image focussed the imagination of the player outward and not on the inner muscles and workings of the body. The student provided a new language to talk about a problem that is ubiquitous among brass players. Although not new information, it offered me a new perspective and a fresh way of thinking about something that I do as a performer.
I notice a relationship between the direction of my professional chamber music group ¡Sacabuche!, and the direction of my applied studio. My professional group needs me to be organized, efficient, a good communicator, and a good musician. They want to produce great results without wasting time. They want the group dynamic to be friendly and professional. I transfer the lessons I have learned as a director to my teaching. My students need me to be organized, efficient, a good communicator, and overtly competent. In both situations, I need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and provide the right amount of challenge. Most importantly, I need to create a space conducive to learning, challenge and growth.
I hold all of my students to high standards and grade all performances on the same scale. However, for those students who do not want performing careers, I create additional options for contribution to their applied course. For example, I encourage students interested in composition to compose pieces for their recitals and for those of their colleagues. For students going on in musicology, I allow them to create a lecture-recital instead of a “music only” recital. I incorporate some students into my research during the summer months and include them in publications if possible. For students going on in teaching, we might give a joint presentation on teaching strategies in the applied studio at a regional teaching conference showcase. In this way, their applied studio learning supports their larger career goals.
In the past six years at Mount Allison, my teaching has become more nuanced and I have developed greater confidence in my ability to assess aptitude and weakness, and to prioritize areas of work and focus. This increased confidence follows a path of successes and some failures. Embracing the failures seems to be key to my learning as a teacher and I consider it a strength. I ask some of the following questions: Why was the student not able to transfer that knowledge to the stage? Is the student not practicing or not understanding? What are examples of concepts that the student has mastered in the past? Is there a pattern to their learning that we can apply to the current situation? I am more patient now, patient with myself and with my students. I hold them to high standards, but I understand that they come from different backgrounds and learn at different paces.
The most challenging thing I find about teaching is knowing when to push a student and when to back off and let them push themselves. In large brush strokes, I find this easy to determine—it is fairly obvious when a student overthinks and worries too much versus one who spends more time with Netflix than their morning practice session. But on a more subtle level, this can be difficult. To help me, I take notes in a dedicated journal for each student and encouraged my students to do the same. Together we track assignments, goals, good ideas, effective learning strategies, and musical ideas. I take three minutes and read the appropriate journal before each lesson, reminding myself of progress made during the past weeks and over the semester, and of particular struggles the student might be facing. This work sensitizes me in the realms of expectations and goal setting, and focusses my communication and lesson content appropriately.
I engage actively in outreach, regularly engaging in a variety of formats. I offer presentations at music teaching conferences, engage my students in the pedagogy of brass instruments, provide a thorough preparation for future music teachers through instruction in the Brass Methods Course, offer workshops at schools, and facilitate events that bring school music programs to campus for workshops. Not only tripling the size of my current studio, the outreach has informed my pedagogy. It provides me with an accurate idea of what type of instruction the incoming students have been exposed to. It lets me know what inspired these students to study music and what concepts might need shaping during their undergraduate degree in order to prepare them for graduate studies or professional life.
Studio Teaching Strategies
In the applied studio, I focus on key areas: improving technical facility, encouraging musical growth and maturity, learning new repertoire, and developing the ability to work independently, self-reflect, and think critically. I achieve these goals with my students through a variety of methods, including modelling good playing during lessons, and assigning technical etudes that address specific weaknesses while ensuring that the student understands not only what to do, but why a given exercise is necessary.
I give the students listening and recording assignments that encourage self-reflection on their playing, and that include incentives for improving their skills. As a part of the applied course, I offer a weekly master class where the entire studio meets and engages with some aspect of performance. I focus on process and quality of practice time over quantity. I lead discussions during studio master class that address stage deportment, professional behaviour, and healthy practice habits, encouraging professionalism. Using my training as an Alexander Technique teacher, I address posture and encourage an understanding of how habits of excellence lead to excellence in performance. I foster sensitivity to these issues by having the students demonstrate both desirable and undesirable behaviour/performance as way of sensitizing them to subtle differences. In addition, I encourage an active pedagogy by engaging the upper-year students in modeling and teaching concepts to their younger colleagues. Through this process, the upper-year students become aware of holes in their knowledge and develop a sensitivity that supports an improved articulation of their ideas. For many students this practice heightens their sense of “what they need to be working on”, and also awakens an interest in music pedagogy.