Hailed as an ‘incredible artist’ by Hans Zimmer, Suad is a versatile Canadian composer of Bosnian, Syrian, & Palestinian roots. Her music, which was described as 'reflective & touching' (BBC), usually tackles themes of identity, memory, loss, war, migration, diaspora, & peace & understanding.
She scored award-winning features & shorts with screenings at Hot Docs, Edinburgh (EIFF), Dubai (DIFF), Seattle (SIFF), Lebanese, Malmo Arab, & Ajyal Youth (of Doha Film Institute) film festivals to name a few. She won the Beyond Music Foundation Creativity Award (presented by Grammy-laureate Larry Klein), the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival Award for Best Foreign Score, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture music grant, & was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award.
She completed the Canadian Film Centre, Krakow Film Music Festival, & SESAC Christophe Beck film scoring residencies. She holds a Bachelor in Music Composition from McGill University (Montreal), which she entered on scholarship, & did part of her music studies at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus (Syria).
Her orchestral music was performed by the Belgian National Orchestra, Vermont Symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bergara, Friedenauerkammerensemble, Luneburg Symphony, & the Syrian Expat Philharmonic (of which she’s a composer in residence) to name a few, in venues like Konzerthaus Berlin, Berlin Philharmonie, BOZAR, Malmo Live Konserthus, & Elbphilharmonie. She gave lectures on film scoring in schools, universities, & festivals in the US, Canada, & Oman, & was chosen to moderate panels on film scoring by the DOC Institute & the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. She is an invited judge at the International Festival of Cinema & Common Memory in Morocco (October 2019).
Suad brought her film scores to the orchestral concert stage in Europe & the US. She is commissioned to compose a live film score by the Vermont Symphony, is on her third orchestral commission with Betty Productions (producers of London Olympics Opening Ceremony 2012), & is a finalist with two works out of 2000 applications with the innovative Kaleidoscope Orchestra. Her chamber, choral, & piano music was performed in places like Finland, Norway, Hawaii, Jerusalem, North Carolina, and Carnegie Hall (New York).
Suad raised $4000 for the Syrian Kids Foundation to buy water filters for more than 1000 Syrian students (many are orphans) in Turkey through non-profit sales of her music CDs. She also participated in a joint concert between the Orquesta Sinfonica de Bergara and SOS Racismo in the Basque country, raising thousands of euros to benefit El Sistema Greece & its program of integrating Syrian refugee children with Greek children through music. Suad was selected as one of ten Canadians to participate in the inaugural Multimedia and Multiculturalism Internship by the United Nations Association Canada, & is one of four composers in Das Gleiche Wort project. She is a board member at the Screen Composers Guild of Canada.
Suad gave interviews to BBC, NPR, Der Tagesspiegel, Radio Canada, Mother Jones, Radio Euskadi, & France Info. She speaks Arabic, English, French, & Spanish, holds an additional Bachelor in Education, & is publicly represented by Core Music Agency.
Hailed as an 'incredible artist' by the legendary film composer Hans Zimmer, Suad Bushnaq is an award-winning, musically multilingual Arab-Canadian film and concert composer whose music has been described as 'reflective and touching' (BBC The Arts Hour), 'rich and accessible' (Klarafestival, Belgium), ‘seriously beautiful’ (John Welsman, award-winning Canadian composer), 'sublime' (CJAD Montréal), and 'attractively tonal…..with the right amount of spice to keep it fascinating' (The Rutland Herald following a performance by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra)..
Her piece, 'The Road to Jenin' from her film score for a feature entitled 'The Curve' by director Rifqi Assaf has recently been nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category, and won a Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Original Score at the Global Music Awards. It was described by Arab music legend Marcel Khalifé as 'beautiful as the sadness of the night and the joy of the daybreak'. Her song 'Born Today' which is an ode to migrants won the Beyond Music Foundation's Creativity Award, presented by the foundation's project artistic director, multi-Grammy winning producer Larry Klein, and her orchestral film score in concert 'The Borrowed Dress' won the Artemis Women in Action Film Festival (Los Angeles) Best Foreign Score Award.
In 2018, she was selected as one of six composers from across Canada for the prestigious Slaight Music Residency at the Canadian Film Centre. She was also elected as a member of the Board of Directors at the Screen Composers Guild of Canada, and won a grant from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture to produce her new music album entitled 'Original Soundtracks from Independent Arab Cinema'. In 2019, she was selected as one of eleven film composers to participate in the SESAC Film Scoring Workshop with Christophe Beck (Frozen, Under the Tuscan Sun, The Muppets) in Santa Monica, and was also selected as one of sixteen composers from around the world to participate in the Krakow Film Music Festival Sync Camp scoring lab.
Suad composed short and feature length film scores that earned critical acclaim for a number of award-winning filmmakers. Her music has been heard during screenings at prestigious festivals including the Dubai, Seattle, Beverly Hills, Hot Docs, and Edinburgh International Film Festivals to name a few.
Her concert music has been performed in Europe, Canada, the United States, and the Middle East, and is listened to internationally. It includes a large body of works for solo instruments, small ensemble, electroacoustics, choir, and symphony orchestra. Suad has three major orchestral works: 'The Borrowed Dress', 'Souvenir du Soleil (commissioned by the Theatre Lüneburg, Germany), and 'The Storyteller 'Hakawaty' Suite for Orchestra' with its movements "Tomorrow' (Ghadan) and 'Narenj'.
Her music has been performed by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra during its Holiday Pops concert tour of 2017 to sold-out shows at the Barre Opera House, the Flynn Center for the Arts, and The Paramount Theatre, as well as by the Syrian Expat Philharmonic Orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Malmö Live Konserthus, in addition to the BOZAR along with the National Orchestra of Belgium. It has also been performed by the Lüneburger Symphoniker, the Vergara Symphony Orchestra in the Basque Country, the University of North Carolina Charlotte Orchestra, as well as by the Friedenauer Kammerensemble and the Orquesta Ritornello in Berlin. Her quintet version of 'The Borrowed Dress' was also performed by the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings. Suad was commissioned by the Berlin based 'ensemble mini' to create an Arabic-infused arrangement of Bartók's 'Rumänische Orchestertanz', and was commissioned by the NC Governor's School East Choir to compose a work for women's choir, for which she composed 'Spelling Semitic' with a text by Zsuzsanna Ardó. Her discography includes 'Thoughts', 'From the Heart', and the soundtrack album for 'The Curve'.
Suad earned an entrance scholarship award from the world-renowned music composition program at Canada's top music school, McGill University, where she completed a Bachelor in Music Composition in 2009 after studying theory, composition, and orchestration with William Caplin, Brian Cherney, Chris Paul Harman, Jean Lesage, Peter Schubert, and Jonathan Wild. She also studied composition with Marjan Mozetich at Queen's University. She completed four years of her music education at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, Syria.
In addition to composing music, Suad Bushnaq has been a guest lecturer at the Muscat Festival (Oman, 2016), NC Governor's School (North Carolina, 2016 and 2017), and the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she was there for a two day residency giving a lecture on music and identity, and a masterclass on film scoring.
Born in Jordan to a Syrian mother and a Bosnian-Palestinian father, she is one of a handful of Arab women composers in the world.
In an effort to make the world a better place through music, Suad's music album Thoughts raised $2200 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in 2007 through non-profit sales. In 2014, her albums From the Heart and Thoughts raised more than $4000 for the Syrian Kids Foundation which helped buy water coolers for the students.
T H E O T H E R L I F E O F S U A D B U S H N A Q
In a parallel life that she leads, Suad is also a certified Math teacher with a Bachelor in Education with Distinction from McGill University. In 2011, she was competitively selected by the United Nations Association in Canada as one of twenty-one individuals from across North America to participate in the Multimedia and Multiculturalism internship program. When she's not composing or teaching, Suad enjoys world travel, photography, sitting in cafés, catching continuity errors in TV shows and films, and brushing up on her French and Spanish language.