Music Professor Premiering Three Original Compositions this Month

Monday, October 7, 2019

Karen SunabackaThe students, staff, and faculty of Conrad Grebel University College are fortunate to have Karen Sunabacka as an Associate Professor in the Music Department. Along with teaching music theory and composition, Karen is an internationally renowned composer. Her compositions have been performed across Canada and the U.S., as well as in South America and Europe.

Throughout October, three of Karen’s original works will be premiering across North America. Her work I Wasn’t Meant for This premiered in Winnipeg on October 6. The piece, for viola d’amore and percussion, was commissioned by Park Sounds Duo. From October 10-13, Karen will be in Montreal for the premiere of English Horn Concerto: In Memory of Beverly Cloustona 20 minute piece commissioned by Orchestre Métropolitain. Following that, Karen’s piece Ripples, a duet for viola and cello, will be premiering in Texas. Ripples was commissioned and written for Texas State University professors Ames Asbell and Karla Hamelin. 

I Wasn’t Meant for This is written about Karen’s grandfather and her Métis grandmother, who, Karen remarked, “found herself on a farm with three children and a husband with PTSD when what she really wanted to be was an artist.” English Horn Concerto: In Memory of Beverly Clouston is written about Karen’s aunt whose “generosity, warmth, and enthusiasm filled our house every time she came,” she noted. Ripples, Karen explains, “is a celebration of women. It specifically explores our connections and the beautiful and life-giving waterways around which we live and thrive.”

Karen joined the Grebel Music Department in 2017. In the 2018-2019 academic year, Grebel commissioned Karen to write a piece for the “Grebel Sings” initiative. When not teaching or composing, Karen’s research areas include women’s voices in electroacoustic music, her Métis and Manitoba heritage, and the sounds of the Canadian wilderness.

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