Visiting the Prairies Through Compositions

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Karen Sunabaka and Darryl FriesenFrom the Prairies: The Solo Piano Music of Karen Sunabacka received warm applause from the full audience at Conrad Grebel University College's first Noon Hour Concert of the season on January 15. Grebel Music Prof. Karen Sunabacka is a composer, cellist, and music theorist based in Waterloo. Darryl Friesen is a pianist who has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, and the Virtuosi recital series. He has also given acclaimed performances as both soloist and collaborative artist across Canada, the United States, Europe, China, and Brazil.

Karen and Darryl have been collaborating for many years. They started performing together when they were both faculty at Providence University College in southern Manitoba. The solo piano pieces, composed by Karen and performed by Darryl, presented a preview of the project the two are currently working on.

The concert began with Falling in the Water, a unique piano and electronic audio piece that featured sound effects and snippets of conversation from a canoe trip. This acted as a dramatic and captivating introduction. Each piece performed revealed the experience of both composer and pianist. Before the concert ended, Karen brought out her cello to join Darryl for a moving piece, Lagrima, composed by Sophia Eckhardt-Gramatte. This selection followed a moment of silence held in honour of the victims of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752. The concert then closed with a beautiful and complex composition that had been written as a final performance piece for competition.

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