Carissa is a violinist based in Ottawa, Canada, where she plays with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and pursues other solo and chamber projects. Formerly of Saskatoon (by way of Montreal), she’s a proud Ukrainian-Canadian, a frequent traveler, vinyl enthusiast, photographer, and a coffee/whisky/music snob. In addition to her solo appearances, she is co-founder of the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, singer in the Ukrainian folk-rock band Tyt i Tam, and a part of the “take-no-prisoners” string quartet, Ironwood. She recently released her debut album, SOUNDWORLDS, with her good friend Philip Chiu. Carissa plays on a 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin, generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank. Visit her biography.
Carissa does everything - or so her friends will tell you. Never limited by genre, and having great difficulty saying "no," her life is constantly changing gears. Her many projects include a solo show, a Ukrainian turbo-folk band Tyt i Tam, the Ironwood String Quartet, and the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival. She recently released her debut album, SOUNDWORLDS, with her good friend Philip Chiu. Read more about them here:
Carissa's solo show explores the full-range of the solo violin repertoire - solo Bach, Eastern European traditional folk music, contemporary indie-classical music with electronics and pedals (think Nico Muhly and his contemporaries), and occasionally improvisations. Whatever the repertoire, expect an intimate show, exploring connections and commonalities.
Restless wanderers and acclaimed violinists Carissa Klopoushak and Edwin Huizinga make the world their dreamscape. Their setlist is a melting pot of violin and fiddle music for every music lover, from early classical to Eastern European folk. Watch the opening segment.
Carissa is passionate about her Ukrainian heritage and everything that comes with it. She grew up jamming with her family members, sang and played in her dad's Ukrainian folk choir Lastiwka, and formed a folk-rock band Tyt i Tam which is happily busy today (see below). Carissa recently started performing with Moldavian cimbalom star Alexandru Sura, performing programs which combine Eastern-European folk music (Ukrainian, Romanian, Lautari, and tunes that don't fit into just one box) with folk-inspired classical pieces, like Ravel's Tzigane and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances.
Carissa's love of folk music led her to see if there was anything as compelling in Ukrainian art music - something that quickly became the subject of her doctoral studies at McGill. Her dissertation, Cornerstones of the Ukrainian violin repertoire: 1870 – present day, discusses works for violin and piano by little-known Ukrainian composers including Mykola Lysenko, Borys Lyatoshynsky, Myroslav Skoryk, and Valentyn Silvestrov.
THE IRONWOOD QUARTET is made up of four dynamic and passionate Canadian musicians: Jessica Linnebach and Carissa Klopoushak (violins), David Marks (viola), and Julia MacLaine (cello), a quartet of curious musicians whose home base is Canada’s National Arts Centre. During the short years since their debut in 2014, Ironwood has become one of Canada’s premiere chamber music ensembles. Originally from Edmonton, Saskatoon, Vancouver, and PEI and with musical interests ranging from Beethoven and Ravel to Phillip Glass, Ukrainian and American folk music, Tango and Radiohead, their programming reflects a belief in the power of great music to unite.
They first performed together in the inaugural NAC's WolfGANG Sessions at Ottawa’s Mercury Lounge (a series devoted to contemporary chamber music) and immediately felt the strength of their musical connection and their common passion for the tremendous and extensive repertoire for string quartet. Ironwood has achieved critical acclaim for their “take no prisoners” approach to performances and has appeared in Ottawa at the NAC’s Music for a Sunday Afternoon series, at the Steinway Gallery and at the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival in Saskatoon, collaborating with pianists Jon Kimura Parker and Inon Barnatan.
This season has included a residency at Avaloch Music Farm Institute, and performances of three Beethoven String Quartets at the NAC's Beethoven Festival. Upcoming quartet concerts include performances in Europe, as well as in Canada at festivals on Prince Edward Island, in Winnipeg (GroundSwell), and in Quebec (Pontiac Enchanté).
Beginning July 2019, the quartet are directors of the Classical Unbound Festival in Prince Edward County.
Discover more: www.ironwoodquartet.com
RITORNELLO CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, SASKATOON, SK
RITORNELLO CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, SASKATOON, SK
Striving to bring the chamber music concert experience into the 21st century, the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival showcases exciting, Canadian musicians who are currently pursuing professional careers across the country and around the globe. Ritornello Fest is co-directed by violinist Carissa Klopoushak and pianist Jacqueline Woods. Their common goal is to provide Saskatchewan audiences the opportunity to hear innovative, fresh concerts performed by young, engaging musicians of the highest quality, with special attention to those who were born and raised in the Prairies. Saskatchewan’s one and only chamber music festival takes place annually the last weekend of May in downtown Saskatoon.
Ritornello Fest has featured Lara St. John, the Cecilia Quartet, Philip Chiu, Plumes Ensemble, and many more fabulous artists.
Discover more: www.ritornello.ca
UKRAINIAN FOLK-ROCK BAND
UKRAINIAN FOLK-ROCK BAND
For over a decade, Тут і Там (pronounced Toot ee Tahm) has been captivating audiences worldwide with their unique and progressive style of Ukrainian folk music. Established in 2003, the band has performed across Canada at the Toronto, Montreal, Dauphin, and Vegreville Ukrainian festivals, as well as in Sydney, Australia. The band released their fourth album, Obriad (Ritual), in August 2015.
Obriad (Ritual) is a 12-track concept album through which the band explores ancient rituals of the calendar year and life cycle in a contemporary context. Through Obriad, the band examines fundamental elements of the human experience - love and loss, the changing of seasons, celebration and hardship, traditional songs and village dances - with a new depth and impassioned honesty. Obriad is Тут і Там's most mature album to date, marking a departure from their earlier three releases while keeping the energy, instrumental prowess, and vocal harmonies that they are known for. It shatters expectations with the seamless fusion of folk-rock, dance, ska, reggae, and village influences. Discover more: www.tytitam.com
Carissa is a proud member of the National Arts Centre Orchestra violin section. Created in 1969, the NAC orchestra performs over 100 times each year during a 46-week season in Canada's capital. NACO has traveled extensively across every region of Canada, touring throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Currently, the orchestra is led by Music Director Alexander Shelley and Principal Guest conductor John Storgårds. Previously, Pinchas Zucherman acted as Music Director.
Carissa spent much of 2014 performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whom she joined for a series of tours and recordings, including a North American tour and residency at The Banff Centre. Previously, she performed as the Principal Second Violin of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.
Carissa enjoys teaching driven and passionate violin students, typically highschool-age or older. She has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate level students at McGill and the University of Ottawa. Please enquire if interested in private lessons. Occasional lessons can also be accommodated. Contact Carissa.