Long Format Biography

Photo: Trish Lindstrom

“The playing is remarkable…you can hear the organ breathing, even weeping, as if it were almost human.” – Radio Canada

Kevin Komisaruk is a Canadian-American organist and harpsichordist based at the University of Toronto since 2003, and is a core faculty member with the Music and Health Research Collaboratory. His scholarship explores intersections between performance practice, rhetoric, creative identity, flow theory, kinaesthetics, and improvisation, and how these impact the spiritual, emotional, and physical health of artists and listeners. In practice he develops applications for advanced musical performance in medicine, especially palliative care, exploring the relevance of the interpretive process in developing complementary therapies for pain and anxiety.

Since 2009 he has maintained a private practice as a palliative care musician and mentors students in reinterpreting stage performance skills to the bedside. He has performed for palliative individuals at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, Dorothy Ley Hospice, Hill House Hospice, Hospice Thornhill, Hazel Burns Hospice, Baycrest Hospital, and the Toronto East General Hospital. He has presented palliative care workshops for Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, Central Ontario Health Integration Network, the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, and as a keynote speaker for the Calgary Instrumental Society.

As a concert soloist Komisaruk has performed throughout Europe and North America, at venues including the Abbatiale Sainte-Croix and Basilique St-Seurin (Bordeaux, France), Église-Musée des Augustins, St-Pierre-des-Chartreux, Couvent des Jacobins (Toulouse, France), Cathédrale Sainte-Marie (Auch, France), Sanktmarienkirche (Stralsund, Germany), Jacobikirche (Gingst, Germany), University of Aberdeen (Scotland), St Paul’s Cathedral (London, UK), Santa Rosa (Querétaro, Mexico), Zocalo Cathedral (Puebla, Mexico), King’s Chapel (Boston), the Episcopal Cathedrals of Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, and Washington D.C., and the Princeton Early Keyboard Centre. He has broadcast with CBC/SRC (Canada), NPR (USA), and Radio France, and his two albums on the ATMA label received several international citations.

As a liturgical musician and choral director Kevin Komisaruk has served as Director of Music for The Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto), Church of St. John the Evangelist (Montreal), St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (Montreal), Principal Organist for St Basil’s Collegiate Church (Toronto), and founding director of Studio Sixteen Ensemble (Toronto). Prior to moving to Toronto he served as choral curriculum director for the English acting programme of the National Theatre School of Canada.

At the Faculty of Music, Professor Komisaruk teaches organ and harpsichord performance as well as courses in creative identity, improvisation, pedagogy, palliative care, and keyboard theory.  He coordinates the Minor in Historical Keyboard and is a faculty lead for the Comprehensive Studies Programme. From 2018-2021 he served as Advisor to the Dean for Teaching and Learning Engagement.