Noon Hour Concert: Curlicue

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm EDT

Curlicue features solo piano works composed by Karen Sunabacka, and performed by pianist Darryl Friesen.  This concert is a celebration in preparation for the cd release.

The solo piano works recorded for the album were inspired by my love of storytelling and my deep connections to the wide skies and whistling winds of my prairie home. Also explored is my love of rushing rivers and lakes in the Canadian shield where I spent many summers camping in the wilderness. Curlicue refers to the title track, but also reflects the twists, turns, and curls of canoe trips, water, and life as explored in these compositions.  Dr. Karen Sunabacka

Note: All concerts in the Noon Hour Concert Series for 2022-2023 will be offered in person and free to the public.


Karen Sunabacka

Composer Karen Sunabacka often finds inspiration from her Métis and mixed European heritage. She has deep roots in the Red River Settlement (what is now known as Manitoba) and feels a strong connection to the Métis, Scottish, Swedish and Finnish cultures. This mix of cultural connections sometimes creates conflicts and new perspectives which she finds both interesting and challenging. Her music reflects this cultural mix through the exploration of the sounds and stories of the Canadian prairies.

She often collaborates with her Métis mother, Joyce Clouston, who is a writer, an Indigenous Cultural Carrier, and social worker. Together they have completed numerous works that explore family stories and the intersections of Indigenous -Settler relations and philosophies.

In demand as a composer, Karen enjoys the challenge of balancing: teaching, composing, performing, reading or watching science fiction and fantasy, and keeping up with her favourite podcasts. Karen is an Associate Professor of Music at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo. 

Darryl Friesen

Darryl Friesen has been praised for his “rich palette of tonal colour” and performances of “intimate, poignant simplicity” (Winnipeg Free Press). He has given acclaimed performances as a soloist and collaborative artist across Canada, the United States, Europe, China, and Brazil. He has performed with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Chamber Music Society, and has appeared on the Virtuosi recital series. As a collaborator and recitalist, he has performed with many distinguished artists, including Elliot Madore, Andrew Wan, Allen Harrington, Catherine Daniel, Jessica Strong, Valdine Anderson, Oleg Pokhanovski, the Adaskin String Trio, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. Darryl’s debut album, Curlicue: The Solo Piano Works of Karen Sunabacka, will be released on the PARMA label in September 2022.

Dr. Friesen has been the recipient of many awards and honours. His doctoral studies were made possible through generous grants from the Canada Council of the Arts in both 2005 and 2006, including the coveted Sylva Gelber Foundation Award, given annually to the most talented Canadian classical artist under the age of 30.

Dr. Friesen is in great demand as a soloist, collaborative artist, teacher, and clinician. He currently teaches full time at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music.

Stabler Insurance text over red background with white music note