Picture of Paul Suchan

Paul Suchan BMusMusEd, MMusic (Music Composition)

Sessional Lecturer in Music

Education 1051

About me

Raised in North Battleford Saskatchewan, Composer, Performer, and Educator Paul Suchan graduated with a B.Mus/B.Mus Ed (2007) from the University of Saskatchewan and M.Mus in Composition (2012) from the Université de Montréal where he studied with composer Alan Belkin.

His body of work includes over 80 commissions that have been performed across Canada, the United States and Europe by leading university ensembles, symphony orchestras, community groups, choirs, small ensembles and others. He is frequently commissioned by groups across Canada of various sizes and abilities.

Mr. Suchan is the winner of Alumni Achievement Award in 2017 from the University of Saskatchewan for his work in music composition and community building.  Other awards include winner of of the 2014 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition for his piece for band Swiftriver Passage, and winner of the 2022 Best Original Score at the Los Angeles International Film Festival - Indie X Film Fest, for his piece for jazz orchestra, Above the Deluge, a collaboration with artist Allyson Glenn.  In 2023 he was very proud to be a recipient of a USSU teaching excellence award from the University of Saskatchewan, an award voted on by students.

He has had the opportunity to collaborate with some of Canada’s leading performers including the Gyphon Trio, the Proteus Saxophone Quartet, and an album recording project with Julie Nesrallah and the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.

Other notable performances include his piece Wake the Grain performed at the National Arts Center in Ottawa in 2014, led by Duane Wolfe, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Chorus.  In 2019 he was commissioned to write Peacemaker for the Chief Poundmaker exoneration ceremony held at Poundmaker Reserve with many dignitaries present, including the Prime Minister of Canada.  In 2011, his first opera, The Beast in the Jungle, based on a short story by Henry James, was premiered in Montreal, QC with full orchestra under the baton of the composer.  His piece for band The Colors and Contrasts of Grief has received over 100 performances throughout North America and has been professionally recorded three times.  

His chamber music pieces include Songs of Ebb and Flow, premiered by Saxophonist Gerard Weber at the North American Saxophone Alliance in Lubuck, Texas; Winter Music, commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet; and The Red Bear Reel, commissioned to commemorate the opening of the Red Bear/Gordon Oaks Student Centre on the University of Saskatchewan Campus.

Other projects have included his pieces for saxophone and piano, Danse Exotique des Gros Papillions, and Bells of the Hours, recorded by Dr. Glen Gillis on Saxspectrum II and III, both nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards.  In 2019 Jeffery Straker won a Western Canadian music award in the category of best visual media composer of the year, with Mr. Suchan’s arrangement of The Storm.  

His band music is published with Eighth Note and Alfred Music, and his choir music with Cypress Music. He is a member of SOCAN, RCCO, and the Saskatoon Musicians Union.  Overall Mr. Suchan’s compositions have been professionally recorded and included on eight collections.

Mr. Suchan remains an active performer, performing between 80 and 100 times yearly, playing weekly on the pipe organ at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in downtown Saskatoon, and playing jazz piano with a number of local groups. He also enjoys playing soccer and exploring the world with his daughter Evelyn, son Isaac, and wife Naomi. 

Teaching & Supervision

Mr. Suchan’s teaching experience ranges from secondary, teaching music and band at North Battleford Comprehensive High School; to post secondary as a sessional lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan and Université of Montréal in subjects relating to composition and jazz.  He has been a guest clinician and adjudicator at numerous festivals and camps including Saskatoon Band Camps, Summer School for the Solo Voice, Moose Jaw Band and Choral Festival, Saskatchewan Music Conference, Saskatchewan Jazz Festival Jazz Intensive, SBA online composition courses and Honour Bands. Mr. Suchan is fully bilingual, and has experience teaching in both english and in french.

Mr. Suchan is a strong advocate for fellow composers and believes strongly in fostering creative communities. To this end in 2011 he co-founded, and is the currect Artistic Director of the Strata Festival of New Music, an annual 3 day festival dedicated to high quality performances of Saskatchewan and Prairie composers. The festival has been responsible for the creation of 70 new compositions, a majority of them from young and emerging composers.


Suchan, P. Past Research Contributions

Suchan, P. (2023).  10 compositional devices found in high quality band music.  A video lecture series developed in partnership with the Saskatchewan Band Association to support the implementation of the Saskatchewan music curriculum.  

Suchan, P. (2012 - 2023). Strata Festival of New Music, Saskatoon.

Suchan, P. (March 6th 2020).  Ebb and Flow: Exploring the Changing Nature of Folk Music Through New Composition and Live Performance with Paul Suchan, Proteus Quartet, Kim de Laforest,                          Gerard Weber and Naomi Piggott-Suchan.  University of Saskatchewan Fine Arts Research Lecture Series.

Suchan, P. (October 20th 2016).  The Role of the Composer in the year 2016.  University of Saskatchewan Fine Arts Research Lecture Series.

Suchan, P. (2015).  Arranging Orchestral Music by Stravinsky for Wind Ensemble, in the Style of Stravinsky.  Canadian Winds:  The Journal of the Canadian Band Association, 14(1), 31-38.

Suchan, P. (2012) Master’s Thesis.  Acoustic composition : exploring metaphorical and perceived connections between patterns of sound in the Opera The Beast in the Jungle. Université de           Montréal.  

Work Included in Third Party Research and Publications:

Gandhi, P. (2021). Canadian Wind Repertoire 2006 - 2021.  [Doctor Dissertation, York University]

Role:  Contributing Composer with Wind Orchestra Repertoire.  

Desmond, K. (2018). Paul Suchan’s Swiftriver Passage. Canadian Winds: The Journal of the Canadian Band Association, 17(1), 17-20.

Role:  Study guide based on my composition Swiftriver Passage.

Morgan, M. (2017). Choral Art Music as a Reflection of Prairie Identity [Doctoral thesis, University of Toronto]

Role: Contributing Composer with the Composition Wake the Grain.

Caslor, J. (2011). Study Guide for Paul Suchan’s A Study of: The Colours and Contrasts of Grief. Canadian Winds: The Journal of the Canadian Band Association, 9(2), 72-74.

Role:  Study guide based on my composition A Study of: The Colours and Contrasts of Grief.

Current Research:  

PHD student researching the relationship between music, culture, and climate change.