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Paul Suchan

Raised in North Battleford Saskatchewan, composer, performer, and educator Paul Suchan graduated with a B.Mus/B.Mus Ed (2007) from the University of Saskatchewan and M.Mus in Composition (2012) from the Université de Montréal where he studied with composer Alan Belkin. He is currently based in Saskatoon with his wife Naomi and daughter Evelyn.

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Mr. Suchan’s compositions have been performed across Canada, the United States and Europe by leading university ensembles, symphony orchestras, community groups, choirs, small ensembles and others. He is frequently commissioned by groups across Canada of various sizes and abilities. Notable performances include his piece Wake the Grain performed at the National Arts Center in Ottawa in 2014, led by Duane Wolfe, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. In 2011, his first opera, The Beast in the Jungle, based on a short story by Henry James, was premiered in Montreal, QC with full orchestra under the baton of the composer. His piece for band The Colors and Contrasts of Grief has received over 100 performances throughout North America and has been professionally recorded three times. His piece for saxophone and piano, Danse Exotique des Gros Papillions was recorded by Dr. Glen Gillis on Saxspectrum II, an album nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award. Overall Mr. Suchan’s compositions have been professionally recorded and included on eight albums. Other chamber music pieces include Songs of Ebb and Flow, premiered by Gerard Weber at the North American Saxophone Alliance in Lubuck, Texas; Winter Music, commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet; and The Red Bear Reel, commissioned to commemorate the opening of the Red Bear Gordon Oaks Student Centre located on the University of Saskatchewan Campus.

The winner of numerous awards and prizes, including the 2017 Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Saskatchewan, Mr. Suchan has the distinction of being the first music graduate to be honoured with this award. He is the winner of of the 2014 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition for his band piece Swiftriver Passage. His band music is published with Eighth Note and Alfred Music, and his choir music with Cypress Music. He is a member of SOCAN, and the Saskatoon Musicians Union. His publications include an article on the Wind Music of Stravinsky, featured in the Spring 2016 Edition of Canadian Winds. He was also the featured composer of Canadian Winds in the Fall 2011 Edition.

Mr. Suchan’s teaching experience ranges from secondary music and band at North Battleford Comprehensive High School; post secondary sessional lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Montreal in subjects relating to composition. He has been a guest clinician and adjudicator at numerous festivals and camps including Saskatoon Band Camps, Summer School for the Solo Voice, Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival, Saskatchewan Music Conference, and Honour Bands. Mr. Suchan is fully bilingual, and has experience teaching in both English and in French.

Mr. Suchan is a strong advocate for fellow composers and believes strongly in fostering creative communities. To this end, in 2011 he co-founded the Strata Festival of New Music, an annual 3 day festival dedicated to high quality performances of Saskatchewan and Prairie composers. The festival has been responsible for the creation of 38 new compositions, a majority of them from young and emerging composers. Recent guest composers have included Barbara Croall and Gordon Fitzell. Mr. Suchan remains an active performer, playing on the pipe organ weekly at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Saskatoon, and playing jazz piano with a number of local groups. He also enjoys playing soccer and exploring the world with his daughter Evelyn.

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