Christina Rusnak | About
Dallas Contemporary, in 2009, commissioned Ms. Rusnak to compose 161 Glass, to celebrate the opening of their new art space. With a Master’s degree in Composition and Art History from the University of North Texas, she has worked with the Dallas Contemporary coordinating their new sound series, “New Sounds” and with Orchestra 2001 in Philadelphia as a management consulting.
about christina rusnak, bio, biography
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Christina Rusnak / Composer/Explorer

Christina Rusnak is a multifaceted composer whose work reflects a diversity of styles.

My Bio

Composer Christina Rusnak is a multifaceted composer who works in a diversity of styles. She seeks to integrate a sense of context into her music from a variety of sources including landscape, culture, history, ecology and art working with historians, scientists and cultural geographers in  natural and urban spaces. Her goal is to compose music that is engaging as well as thought provoking.


She has written chamber ensemble, women’s choir, orchestra, jazz, and electro-acoustic works. The Dallas Contemporary Museum commissioned her to create a work celebrating their new art space at 161 Glass in 2009. An avid hiker, and member of the Landscape Music Composers Network, Ms. Rusnak has worked as Composer-In-Residence for Homestead National Monument, North Cascades National Park and Cottonwood Canyon State Park. The Life of Ashes, premiered in 2014, was commissioned  by the US Forest Service for the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.


Her work has been performed at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, the Parma Music Festival and at the 12th Annual CSUF New Music Festival. Her music has been recorded by the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra, LA Jazz, and by Vocal Luna in Havana Cuba. Parma Recordings released her jazz compilation, Chat, Chill, Highline, in 2014 and Intersections in 2016. Most recently she partnered with Kino-Lorber Films creating the score for A House Divided. Upcoming projects include a chamber piece celebrating Celilo Falls and the Oregon Trail. A writer on music, culture and leadership, her essays on music and advocacy can be found on and New Music Box among others.

Christina S. Rusnak


Christina Rusnak is a multifaceted composer whose work reflects a diversity of styles and points of view. She actively seeks to integrate a sense of context from a variety of sources. Landscape, art and cultural history figure prominently in her work. Rusnak’s goal is to compose music that is thought provoking and engages the performers as well as the audience.


She composes for chamber ensemble, women’s choir, and orchestra as well as jazz, and electro-acoustic works. Cloudburst, released in 2007, launched Ms. Rusnak’s musical exploration of place and space.  The Dallas Contemporary Museum commissioned her to create a work celebrating their new art space at 161 Glass in 2009. FEAR: The Unspoken Geography explores perception and interaction with public spaces and was chosen in 2013 for the 12th Annual CSUF New Music Festival: Voice in the 21st Century. 

An avid hiker, Ms. Rusnak has created works for many National Parks and Monuments as well as the US Forest Service and Wilderness areas including Homestead National Monument, (150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act) Denali, Yukon Charley and North Cascades National Parks, Mount Adams Wilderness (50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act), Glacier National Park as well as Oregon State Parks.  Most recently she traveled to Cuba for a recording project in Havana.


Originally from an old St. Louis beer family, Ms. Rusnak began creating music at age nine. She earned her Master’s degree in Composition is at the University of North Texas, and moved to Portland Oregon in 2012. She actively works with communities and organizations to bring music and culture into public spaces.  Ms. Rusnak’s essays on music and culture have been published in, New Music Box, Landscape, the Journal of the International Alliance of Women in Music and more.  She recently presented on Music and Advocacy at the University of Iowa. Her works are recorded on ERM Media and Parma Recordings.

Christina Rusnak

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.



          Christina S. Rusnak

                              Curriculum Vitae



2712 NE 13th Ave

Portland, OR, 97212                                                                                          971-275-2534 C




  • A multifaceted composer whose work reflects a diversity of styles and points of view
  • Composes music that is thought provoking & engaging for the performers and audience
  • Composing since the age of nine; actively seeks to integrate culture, landscape, history, art and ecology into her sound-world
  • An essayist and advocate for New Music, she has written articles for New Music Box, Oregon Arts Watch,, IAWM Journal among others; speaker for the 2016 Rural Arts Conference on Music and Advocacy
  • Selected as Oregon Arts Commission and/or Oregon Cultural Trust grants panelist since 2015



Master’s in Music Composition; University of North Texas, Denton, Texas; 2010; Studied with David Bithell and Cindy McTee. Post-graduate studies with Jonathan Newman and William Hoshal

Graduate Certification, Arts Leadership, University of North Texas; 2010

Graduate Certification Cultural Planning and Creative Placemaking, University of British Columbia

Bachelors of Business Administration, Management; University of North Texas


Compositions (abbreviated selection)

A House Divided               Viola, Piano, 2018

Tundra Tapestry               Trio: Flute, Clarinet, Violin, 2017

Passage                               Orchestra,   2017

Querido Difunto                Women’s Choir (Translated into Spanish), 2017

Queridos Amados             Women’s Choir (Translated into Spanish), 2017

Glacier Blue                       Cello Solo,  2017

Le Jardin Perdu                Piano, 2016 (Revised)

Dearly Departed               Women’s Choir,  2016

The Way Through             Violins, Cello, Clarinet, Marimba, 2015

The Mountain Within         String Orchestra, 2015

The Life of Ashes              Flute, Viola, Percussion, 2014

Canyon Voices                   Flute, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Violin, Cello, 2014

& Percussion

Coal Creek                          2 violins, Bass Clarinet, Marimba, 2013

Teklanika                            Chamber Orchestra; & Oboe, 2 Violins, Piano, 2013

Going Rogue                      French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, 2013

FREE LAND                        Percussion, Flute, Violin, Cello, Trumpet, 2012

Sequence: 3,4,5                Percussion, Flute, Clarinet, Trombone, VC, 2011

Dearly Beloved                  Women’s Choir, 2011

161 Glass                            Percussion Quartet + Clarinet & Trombone, 2011

HighLine                             Piano, Clarinet and Bass, 2009

Dusk                                   Violin, Clarinet Piano (also Piano Solo), 2008

JARS                                  Large Chamber Ensemble, 2008

FEAR: Unspoken Geography Tape (Voice with Ambient  Sounds), 2008

Chill                                    Piano, Clarinet and Bass, 2007

Fanfare                              Trumpet-2, Tombone-2, Tuba, 2007

White Rock Morning        Tape, 2006

Kyripo                                Piano, 2006


Performances (abbreviated selection)

Glacier Blue                      Houghton, Michigan, December 2017

Tundra Tapestry               Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival,  July 2017

Coal Creek                        Portland, OR,  May 2017

Glacier Blue                      Portland, OR, April 2017

The Life of Ashes             Intertwine, Portland OR, October 2016

White Rock Morning        Eugene Oregon,  January 2016

The Way Through            Portland Oregon, November 2015

Going Rogue                     Portland Oregon, November 2014

Chat                                   Portsmouth NH, Parma Music Festival, August 2014

The Life of Ashes             Hood River, OR, August 2014

The Life of Ashes             Umpqua Vally Arts, Roseburg OR, August 2014

Adrianna                            Portland Oregon, November 2013

Teklanika                           Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, July 2013

FEAR: Unspoken Geography  UC Fullerton, CA New Music Festival, March 2013

“Voice in the 21st Century

Flow                                   Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival,  July 2012

161 Glass –                        Dallas Contemporary Museum

Mv. 3, Confluence, April 2011

Mv. 2, Light Matters, October 2010

Mv. 1, The Floor, March 2010

White Rock Morning          Denton Texas, October 2010

Unspoken Geography        Dallas Contemporary Museum, March 2010



Dearly Departed, Dearly Beloved – Ansonica Records / Parma Recordings,  2016

Sung by Vocal Luna @ Abdala Studios

Chat Chill, HighLine – Big Round Records / Parma Recordings, 2014

Performed by LA Jazz @ Studio City Sound

Kyripo – Navona Records / Parma Recordings, 2012

Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra

Cloudburst – ERM Records, 2007

Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra


Commissions, Residencies, and Workshops

2017         KINO FILMS: Commission to compose for historic silent film, “A House Divided”

2017        Composing in the Wilderness: Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival; Denali & Yukon Charley

2016        Third Angle New Music Ensemble: Glacier Blue

2016        Rural Arts: University of IOWA Music as Advocacy for our Rural Places October 2016

2016        INTERTWINE ALLIANCE: Music, Advocacy and participation in our Region’s Natural Public Spaces, October 2016

2015        Marylhurst University: Composing for Wilderness Presentation

2014        North Cascades National Park: Residency to compose about the southern sector

2014        Mount Adams Wilderness: Commission to commemorate the 1964 Wilderness Act

2013        Oregon State Parks: Commission for Cottonwood Canyon State Park

2013        12th Annual CSUF New Music Festival: Voice in the 21st Century

2012-13   Composing in the Wilderness: Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

2012        Homestead National Monument: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Homestead Act

2009-10  Dallas Contemporary Museum:  Commission for opening of New Art Space



Commissioning Landscape Music, July 2017

Solo Hikes: March 2017, Third Angle Buzz

A Report from Cuba, November 2016, IAWM Journal, Volume 22, No. 2

Landscape Music, September 2, 2016, Oregon Arts Watch 

Music, Travel and the New Music Gathering, May 2016, IAWM Journal, Volume 22, No. 1

New Music and Place: Creating Community, April 25, 2016, New Music Box, 

Composing Advocacy: Social Voices, April 19, 2016, New Music Box,

Money, Support and the Voice of New Music, April 13, 2016, New Music Box,

New Music as Advocacy for Place, April 4, 2016, New Music Box,

Cascadia’s Women Composers, Crazy Jane, November 2015, IAWM Journal, Volume 21, #2

Composing Landscape Music, July 2015,

Landscape Music as Advocacy, June 2015,

161 Glass:  Site Specific Music in an Artistic Context, Masters’Thesis; Three movement          percussion       quartet and the study of site specific music in an urban environment. Commissioned for the new Dallas            Contemporary art space in 2010

Reconstructing Presence:  Human Geography of Brent Phelps’ “On the Trail of Lewis and    Clark”, Wandering Scholars, January 2009

50 @ 50: 50 Hikes @ 50 Places of Culture, Essays exploring the integration of physical geography and           human and artistic culture; August 2010 – Present


Professional Affiliations (abbreviated selection)

Chamber Music America

Cascadia Composers (NACUSA northwest chapter)

International Alliance for Women in Music – Executive Board

Landscape Music Composers’ Network

League of American Orchestras

Signal Fire Arts (Board)


Other Experience

        Switchback Group (formerly Christina Rusnak Consulting)      September 2010-Present

Independent Culture and Arts consulting: working with communities and organizations to bring music, and          culture into public and environmental spaces. Activities include, Music Curating, Organizational Development, Strategic and Tactical Planning, Interim Executive Management; Cultural Community            Planning

Press Photos

coming soon…

What I love to do

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth.

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Hiking Miles

Be fluid. Treat each project differently. Be water, man. The best style is no style. Because styles can be figured out.

"Sound is one of the original elements of the Earth’s ecosystem. Music breathes; giving it breath and beauty is what we call music making."

John Kennedy

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JOHN , Composing in the Wilderness

"Love your pictures, thank you for sharing!"

JOE PARKER, Silent Eko

Contact Info

Get a hold of me or ask me a question.