Four Ladino Folk Songs

Durme, Durme: Four Ladino Folk Songs is a song cycle by Canadian composer Elisha Denburg. It was commissioned for Crossing Borders with support from the Ontario Arts Council. Its digital broadcast premièred in December 2021 on the Crossing Borders: Shifting the Lens program. This song cycle is a personal exploration of a unique aspect of Elisha’s Jewish and musical heritage: Judeo-Spanish poetry and song. It uses the poems’ traditional melodies as springboards to a newly rendered work, in the Jewish tradition of “renewing days as of old.”

Featuring Tara Scott on piano.


Nominated for Classical Recording of the Year in 2023 by Music Nova Scotia.


“Lighthouse” is for anyone who has experienced the loss of someone close. It is, above all else, a love story… The music was composed by Grej (Gregory Harrison) in collaboration with Maureen. The concept is a marriage between classical and electronic genres that utilizes voice, piano, harmonium, synthesizer, and field recordings.


WINNER 2022 ECMA Classical Recording of the Year

WINNER 2023 Classical Composer of the Year (Grej)

Aunt Helen

“Aunt Helen” is a one-act opera for soprano, with music and lyrics written by Monica Pearce inspired by Dr. Helen Creighton.  Dr. Helen Creighton was truly a pioneer in collecting folk songs, and her contribution to the documentation of Maritime folk songs is unparalleled. She lived a life of adventure, from helping survivors from the Halifax Explosion, to driving an ambulance to help with health education, to collecting innumerable folk songs, and many more untold.

Featuring Simon Docking on piano.


Nominated for Classical Album of the Year in 2021 by Music Nova Scotia, and for Classical Composer of the Year (Monica Pearce) by ECMAs in 2022.

Mirror, Mirror

“Mirror, Mirror” is a mini-opera based on the Grimm fairy tale Snow White by Anna Pidgorna. This story uses the Snow White/Evil Stepmother template to look at how women and their relationships with one another are affected by external pressure to be forever young and beautiful. This is Essential Opera’s debut commercial release. This version is for two sopranos and electronics. Click on photo to watch short opera film and click on “Learn more” to stream audio.

Featuring sopranos Maureen Batt and Erin Bardua.

Breathing in the Shadows

“Breathing in the Shadows” is the debut album from Iranian-Canadian composer, Saman Shahi. The album includes three song cycles, two of which are based on poetry by women from across the globe. “Breathing in the Shadows” core themes deal with prejudice, oppression, and inner dissatisfaction, resonating with many different communities that historically have lived through the experiences of these struggles. The music carries an important message of unity and hope.

Featuring Tara Scott on piano.


JUNO-nominated for Classical Composition of the Year (Saman Shahi) 2022.

Lady of the Lake

The debut album of soprano Maureen Batt features a rare recording of Schubert’s “Op. 52 Lady of the Lake” song cycle and a newly commissioned work on the same epic Walter Scott poem by Nova Scotia’s Fiona Ryan. Both cycles feature Jon-Paul Décosse, bass-baritone.  Batt and Décosse are joined by collaborative pianist Simon Docking.  Schubert’s Op. 52 cycle also includes performances from the Halifax Camerata Singers and a male vocal quartet: Justin Simard, Leander Mendoza, James Levesque, Rob O’Quinn.


Nominated for Classical Recording of the Year by Music Nova Scotia (2017), and nominated for Classical Composition of the Year (Fiona Ryan) and Classical Recording of the Year by the East Coast Music Association (2018).