Content Type

This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Karl Schwonik


KARL SCHWONIK (Drums) Having grown up near Gwynne, Alberta, Schwonik completed his Master’s of Music at the University of Toronto in 2012. Currently based in Calgary, he leads an active career as a musician, educator, and administrator.

As a leader, he has completed numerous tours throughout North America and has performed in country barns, world-class jazz clubs and concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He has released four recordings, two of which were nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards for ‘Jazz Recording of the Year’.

In demand as both a guest artist and instructor, Karl has lectured on a broad range of topics in jazz, music business, and artists coping with disabilities at institutions including Indiana University, Brandon University, University of Lethbridge, Red Deer College, Denver School of the Arts, Triton College Chicago, and the Banff Centre.  Schwonik founded the Wetaskiwin Jazz Society in Wetaskiwin, Alberta in 2008.The organization strives to build awareness for the arts in the central Alberta region by presenting the Wetaskiwin Jazz Camp, Jazz-in-Schools, and community concerts.  

Among the many honours, awards and distinctions Schwonik has received are winning the TD Grand Jazz Competition at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Emerging Artist Award, the VSA Arts International Young Soloist Award, the AFM International Diversity Award, and the Queen’s Jubilee Award. He has received support for his projects, research and initiatives from the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Anne Burrows Music Foundation.