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About

Christina Rusnak / Composer/Explorer

Christina Rusnak is passionate about composing about the world around her and the human experience.

My Bio

By nature, I’m an explorer. That informs all of my endeavors. I love creating connections – ideas, people, place, and music. I believe that music can connect people in ways beyond notes on a page.”

 

Christina Rusnak is a composer, explorer and cultural catalyst who draws inspiration from the world around her. Passionate about composing about place and the human experience, Rusnak seeks to integrate a sense of context into her music from a variety of sources including landscape, culture, history, ecology and art she strives to communicate something meaningful about the human experience through music. In that vein, she works to write music that is engaging as well as thought provoking.

 

Ms. Rusnak’s compositional palette includes chamber ensemble, orchestra, wind band, choral and solo pieces as well as  jazz, electro-acoustic works and short film.  She is eager to explore new challenges. In addition to composing for the Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, in 2009-10 she created a sound art series as composer-in-residence. In 2010-2011 she served as Executive Director for Orchestra 2001. An avid hiker and cultural geographer, she has been commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service, The National Park Service, and Oregon State Parks with over dozen pieces inspired by experiences in their landscapes. In 2018, Ms. Rusnak was commissioned by Kino-Lorber Films to score a silent film for the Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers series. She worked with cultural groups and tribal communities along the Columbia River to compose Wy’am, musically depicting the oldest continuously inhabited place on the North American continent. Rusnak’s work has been performed by amazing musicians at many festivals and concerts across the country. 

 

A passionate writer and advocate for new music and place, Rusnak’s essays have been published in a variety of sources including New Music Box, Oregon Arts Watch, and the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music. Ms. Rusnak serves on the board of the International Alliance for Women in Music and on the advisory board of Signal Fire Arts. Her recordings are available through Amazon, Ariel and Parma Recordings, and Naxos. Her music is published by Rusnak Music Press. (Full biography below)

Christina S. Rusnak

BIOGRAPHY

Christina Rusnak is a composer, explorer and cultural catalyst who draws inspiration from the world around her. Passionate about composing about place and the human experience, Rusnak seeks to integrate a sense of context into her music from a variety of sources including landscape, culture, history, ecology and art she strives to communicate something meaningful about the human experience through music. In that vein, she works to write music that is engaging as well as thought provoking.

 

Ms. Rusnak’s works include chamber, orchestra, wind band, short film, and solo pieces as well as women’s choir, jazz, electro-acoustic works.  She is eager to explore new musical challenges. In addition to composing for the Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, in 2009-10 she created a sound art series as composer-in-residence. In 2010-2011 she served as Executive Director for Orchestra 2001. Ms. Rusnak has also received commissions and performances from talented ensembles and performers including The Chris Klaxton Band, Corvus, Citywater and Third Angle New Music Ensembles, Winona State University Wind Band, the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra, pianist Jeffrey Jacob and cellist Ovidiu Marinescu. In 2016, she traveled to Cuba as part of the People–to-People program to record with Vocal Luna in Havana. 

 

An avid hiker and cultural geographer, she has been commissioned by the U.S. Forest Service, The National Park Service, and Oregon State Parks with over dozen pieces inspired by experiences in their landscapes. In 2014, She composed Life of Ashes about the ravages of fire for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and in 2018, composed a reinterpretation of The Oregon Trail, for the 50th anniversary of the National Scenic Trails and Wild Rivers Acts. Ms. Rusnak was commissioned by Kino-Lorber Films to score the 1913 film, A House Divided, and she worked with cultural groups and tribal communities along the Columbia River to compose Wy’am, musically depicting the oldest continuously inhabited place on the North American continent. Rusnak’s work has been performed across the country including the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, and most recently at the Turn UP Festival in Arizona, the Call of the Wild Arts Festival, and the Festival of New American Music. Most recently, she was selected to direct the renowned Composing in the Wilderness Seminar as part of the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in July 2019. Upcoming projects include a new wind band piece, and a new choral work. 

 

Originally from an old St. Louis beer family, Ms. Rusnak began composing  at age nine. She earned her Master’s degree in Composition and Arts Leadership at the University of North Texas in 2010, and moved to Portland Oregon in 2012. A passionate writer and advocate for new music and place, Rusnak’s essays have been published in New Music Box, Oregon Arts Watch, and the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music. Christina Rusnak reflects on how composers and performers are “looking at the diverse landscapes in which we live, with their complex human histories and changing values, as the grounds to examine the intersection of place and people—past and present.” (New Music USA 2015-2016 Year in Review). Her intermedia work (film, music, actors) From the Sidewalk, addresses the invisibility of a homeless woman in New York City. 

 

Ms. Rusnak also works with communities and organizations to bring music, and culture into public spaces. In 2016, she presented on Music and Advocacy at the Rural Arts Conference at the University of Iowa. A member of the Landscape Music Composers Network, she serves on the board of the International Alliance for Women in Music and on the advisory board of Signal Fire Arts. Her recordings are available through Amazon, Ariel and Parma Recordings, and Naxos. Her music is published by Rusnak Music Press. 

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

Website: http://www.christinarusnak.com                                            csrusnak27@gmail.com

 

Profile 

  • A composer whose work reflects a diversity of genres and points of view
  • Composes music that is thought provoking & engaging for the performers and audience
  • Passionate about composing about place and the human experience, she 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, Landscapemusic.org, 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 2015-2017

 

Education

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, William Hoshal & Andrea Reinkemeyer

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)

Hyas Tyee Temwata           Wind Band 2019

Wy’am                                 Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Fr. Horn, Bass, Percussion Quartet, 2018

Oregon Trail                       Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Percussion, 2018

The Coast in Winter          Grade 1 Wind Band, Grade 3 Viola Solo

Contemplation.                  Piano Solo, 2018

A House Divided                Viola, Piano, 2018

Tundra Tapestry                Trio: Flute, Clarinet, Violin, 2017, Version 2: Flute, English Horn, Cello, 2018

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, & Percussion 2014

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)

Oregon Trail, mvmt 1         TurnUP Festival, Tucson, AZ, March 2018

Glacier Blue,                      Portland, OR March 2018

A House Divided                Kino Lorber Films, November Release

Oregon Trail, mvmt 1         FeNAM, Sacramento CA, September 2018

Oregon Trail mvmt 3          Portland OR, October 2018

Oregon Trail, mvmt 1         Houghton MI, October 2018

Oregon Trail mvmt 3.         Atlanta GA, September 2018

Oregon Trail, mvmt 1         Vallejo, CA, September 2018

Tundra Tapestry                 Portland OR, May 2018

Glacier Blue                       Houghton MI, 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

 

Recordings

Le Jardin Perdue – Ariel Records 2018. Performed by Jeffrey Jacobs

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

2019         Directed Composing in the Wilderness Seminar: Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival; Denali National Park

2019         TURN UP Festival, Tucson Arizona, Oregon Trail

2018         Festival of New American Music, Oregon Trail

2018         Visions of the Wild Festival, Oregon Trail performed as part of the Landscape Music Rivers and Trails Concert Series

2018        Oregon Bach Festival, Composer Symposium, Free Land, Mvmt 1

2017        KINO FILMS: Commission to compose for 1913 film, “A House Divided”

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

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; composed The Way Through 

2014        Mount Adams Wilderness: Commission to commemorate the 1964 Wilderness Act, Life of Ashes

2013        Oregon State Parks: Commission for Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Canyon Voices

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

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

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

2009-10  Dallas Contemporary Museum:  Commission for opening of New Art Space, 161 Glass

 

Publications

Landscape Music, Rivers and Trails, November 2018, IAWM Journal, Volume 24, No. 2

Composing the Oregon Trail, September 2018

     http://landscapemusic.org/essays/composing-the-oregon-national-historic-trail/

Widening Inclusion & Visibility Of Women In Music, May 2018

     http://jazzednet.org/resources/widening_inclusion/

Composing in the Wilderness, August 2017

    http://www.orartswatch.org/composing-in-the-wilderness-1-tundra-tapestry/

Commissioning Landscape Music, July 2017

     http://landscapemusic.org/essays/commissioning-landscape-music/

Solo Hikes: March 2017, Third Angle Buzz

http://thirdangle.org/buzz/buzz/solo-hikes-and-glacier-blue/535/

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

Landscape Music, September 2, 2016, Oregon Arts Watch

     http://www.orartswatch.org/landscape-music/ 

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,

    http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/new-music-and-place-creating-community/ 

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

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/composing-advocacy-social-voices/

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

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/money-support-and-the-voice-of-new-music/

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

http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/new-music-as-advocacy-for-place/

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

Composing Landscape Music, July 2015,

     http://landscapemusic.org/essays/composing-landscape-music/

Landscape Music as Advocacy, June 2015,

http://landscapemusic.org/essays/landscape-music-as-advocacy/

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)

College Band Directors National Assn. (CBDNA)

International Alliance for Women in Music – Executive Board

Landscape Music Composers’ Network

League of American Orchestras

Signal Fire Arts (Board member)

 

Other Experience

Switchback Group (formerly Christina Rusnak Consulting)  2013-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

Orchestra 2001, Interim Executive Director, 2010-2011

Dallas Contemporary Museum, Sound Art Curator, 2010

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.

Compose
90%
Explore
84%
Share Knowledge
97%
1789

Working

Hours

8965

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

"Great time!"

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.