Karen Sunabacka

Faculty; Undergraduate Advisor
Karen Sunabacka

Faculty Profile

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24245

Office: CGUC 1108

Music Living-Learning Co-ordinator

Karen Sunabacka is an Associate Professor of Music at Conrad Grebel University College, where she teaches Music Theory and composition. Her compositions have been performed in Canada, the USA, Brazil and the United Kingdom. She has recently written works for Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Conrad Grebel University College Choirs, Park Sounds and smaller pieces for solo bass clarinet, solo piano and a duet for viola and cello. Along with pieces about the natural beauty and winds of the Prairies, Karen has also been exploring her Métis and Manitoba heritage. She composed I Wasn’t Meant for This (2019) and Mama’s Painting: Louis Riel’s Dream(2015) about her Métis Grandmother (Lenore Clouston) using text written by her mother, Joyce Clouston. She also explored her heritage in two commissioned works for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra: Never to Return, a piece about Karen’s great-great Grandmother Mathilda who suffered from mental illness and Born by the River, another piece about her Métis grandmother Lenore. In February 2018 Karen was a finalist for the 21e Prix Opus (2016-2017) in the category Création de l’année (Composition of the year) for the piece De Natura Sonorum which was commissioned by Orchestre Metropolitain. Karen won the Canadian Music Centre, Prairie Region, Emerging Composers Competition in February 2009 with her orchestral composition And There Was A Great Calm. Karen is an active member and past board member of the Canadian New Music Network and she is a board member for Groundswell (Winnipeg’s New Music Series) and NUMUS. She founded Pressure Waves in Winnipeg (now a regular part of Groundswell’s Emerging Composer program.)