Karen and her husband, Oswald own Burke Music Inc., a Gospel music company which also offers production and publishing services, consulting and choral workshops. In 1988, Karen co-founded the Toronto Mass Choir; a gospel choir and continues to serve as its principal director. She runs the choir with her husband, Oswald Burke, developing the choir’s touring schedules and choral arrangements. Since its inception, she has also written many original songs for the choir’s recordings. Karen holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from McMaster University and a Master of Education degree from York University.
After twelve years as a high school music teacher, Burke became a Professor in the music department at York University in 2005, teaching music education and musicianship courses and developing the first post-secondary gospel music curricular courses in Canada including the York University Gospel Choir. Burke recently became the Chair of the Music Department at York University.
Her busy music career continues as a guest speaker and conductor, songwriter and clinician offering gospel music workshops for many organizations both in Canada and overseas including the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA), the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. In 2019, Burke won the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in Arts, Media and Entertainment, an award recognized nationally in Canada.