Carissa Klopoushak, Violinist
Carissa Klopoushak has made a name for herself as a curious, creative, and versatile musician. Based in Ottawa, she is a proud member of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Ironwood Quartet. A laureate of the 2018 Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank Competition, Carissa performs on the beautiful Maggini model 1851 Jean Baptiste Vuillaume violin.
Carissa has toured the country extensively, performing recitals for Debut Atlantic and as the winner of the 2009 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. A passionate collaborator, Carissa has been featured at Ottawa Chamberfest, Montreal Chamber Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music, Music & Beyond, Bravo! Niagara, and Music by the Sea. She spent a season performing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, which she joined for a series of tours and recordings, including a residency at The Banff Centre. She has shared the stage with acclaimed artists such as Jon Kimura Parker, the Gryphon Trio, Lara St. John, Giovanni Sollima, Mark Fewer, John Storgårds, Branford Marsalis, Miloš Karadaglić, and Richard Reed Parry.
Carissa is the founder and Artistic Director of the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival in her hometown, Saskatoon. Founded in 2009, the festival strives to bring the chamber music concert experience into the 21st century through fresh and innovative programming and presentation. Carissa, with her friends in the Ironwood Quartet, serves as co-director of the Classical Unbound Festival in oenophilic Prince Edward County.
Carissa enjoys performing in many different styles, especially Ukrainian folk music. She is the lead singer, violinist, and arranger in the Ukrainian turbo-folk band Тут і Там (pronounced Toot-ee-tahm). The band has recorded four full-length albums and performed at major Ukrainian festivals across Canada, Sydney, Australia, and in Ukraine.
As a dynamic and fluid musician never limited by genre, Carissa thrives in the richness of various musical experiences. In her multifaceted world, she has co-composed and recorded a ballet score for Edmonton’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers’ production Ancestors & Elders, performed the Canadian premiere of Vivian Fung’s Concerto no. 1 with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, and toured Canada, China, and Europe with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. She is a strong advocate for more inclusion in classical music, programming and performing new music, female composers, and giving a platform to underrepresented voices.
Carissa’s evolution as an artist is guided by music’s universality—its power to connect people, its ability to build communities. As both a musician and presenter, she aims to bring people closer together. The pursuit of meaningful and honest connection, combined with a healthy dose of curiosity, serves as the driving force shaping her artistic voice. She brings a versatile skill set, a unique voice, warm energy, and vigorous dedication to any project.
Carissa holds a doctorate in violin performance from McGill University, where she focused on the little-known classical violin repertoire by Ukrainian composers. Her debut recording, SOUNDWORLDS, was released in 2016 with Canadian pianist Philip Chiu.
“She has a meaty, luscious sound, rhythmically driven, the raw honesty of her musicality tempered by a confident, light-handed virtuosity.”
— Natasha Gauthier, artsfile.ca
The Ihnatowycz Family Foundation generously supports the Ottawa Chamberfest Artistic Director.
Gryphon Trio (Annalee Patipatanakoon, Roman Borys, Jamie Parker)