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Music Professor on CBC

CBC Radio 2 will air music by local composer and professor at Providence College Dr. Karen Sunabacka on its show “The Signal” on Saturday, June 19 at 10 p.m.

Sunabacka, assistant professor of music theory and composition at Providence College, was the featured composer at the 33rd International Eckhardt-Gramatte music competition held in Brandon, MB, from April 30 – May 2, 2010.

Focusing on piano this year, this internationally acclaimed music competition attracted advanced piano competitors from across Canada. Dr. Sunabacka’s commissioned piece entitled “Curlicue” was performed numerous times throughout the competition. Sunabacka’s work will be aired on The Signal during the second hour of the three-hour CBC show (98.3FM).

“It is always a thrill to hear my works performed publicly,” says Sunabacka. “The Eckhardt-Gramatte National Music competition was special because I was able to hear my piece performed twelve times. It was incredible to hear the multiple interpretations of my piece.”

A special prize for the best performance of the work was given to Andrea Lodge, a doctoral student in piano performance at Stony Brook University in New York. Her performance of “Curlicue” was recorded by CBC for broadcast on June 19th. The overall 2010 winner was Claudia Chan, an undergraduate in Piano performance in Toronto. In the Fall, Ms Chen will embark on a cross-Canada tour with her new music program that will include Dr. Sunabacka’s piece “Curlicue.” The Winnipeg recital is scheduled for Nov. 14.

“Throughout the piece I make use of all the registers of the piano,” says Sunabacka. “However, I did find that I often wanted to move up and down through all registers in each section of the piece. It is from this up and down tendency that I found my title, Curlicue.

“According to the Oxford Dictionary a curlicue is ‘a decorative curl or twist in calligraphy or in the design of an object.’ From the initial downward swirl of the opening measures through the scalar curls and sweeps of the middle section to the chorale-like curves of the final section, this piece is a multitude of curls, curves and twists.”

As part of the 3- day event, Sunabacka was invited to present a lecture on both the commissioned piece and her work as a composer. After the lecture, Dr. Lawrence Jones, professor emeritus of the Brandon University School of Music, commented that he felt this was one of the best of the commissioned pieces for piano he had encountered in the history of this competition.

Last year, Sunabacka’s winning piece “And There Was a Great Calm” was performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra at their annual New Music Festival as a result of winning the Canadian Music Centre’s Young Composer’s competition.

Dr. Sunabacka has become a well-loved teacher of theory, composition, and ‘cello since she began her career at Providence in 2007.

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