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Karen Burke

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Karen Burke

Associate Professor



BMus (McMaster), ARCT (RCM)


Karen Burke is a singer, music director, choral conductor and composer in the field of African-American vocal music.

As an authority on the history and performance practices of Gospel music, she has worked with major choral ensembles and organizations including the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and Youth Choir, Toronto Choral Society and Ontario Choral Federation, as well as numerous schools and church congregations. In 1988, she co-founded the Juno Award-winning Toronto Mass Choir and continues to serve as their principal director, touring nationally and internationally.

A prolific composer and arranger of Gospel repertoire, Professor Burke has written many original songs for the Toronto Mass Choir's CDs. Her work on the concert stage and in the recording studio includes collaborations with such leading lights as Alvin Slaughter, Jean Ashworth Bartle and Jackie Richardson.

Professor Burke is the founding director of the York University Gospel Choir. She joined the faculty in York’s Music Department in 2005.