Karen Burke, director of the Toronto Mass Choir, holds a Master of Education Degree from York University, an Honours Bachelor of Music Degree from McMaster University, and an A.R.C.T. Diploma in Piano Teaching from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Karen and her husband, Oswald, established Burke Music Inc., a Gospel music production and publishing company in Ontario, Canada. In 1988, Burke co-founded the Toronto Mass Choir (T.M.C.), a Juno award-winning gospel choir. The choir has recorded 14 albums and toured in ten countries, including Italy, Poland, and the Dominican Republic.
In 2005, Burke became a professor in the music department at York University, developing the first post-secondary gospel music curricular courses in Canada and establishing the York University Gospel Choir.
Burke has offered workshops for many schools and organizations, including the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, the Ontario Music Educators Association (O.M.E.A.), and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). Burke has also traveled abroad teaching Gospel music in countries like the United States, Poland, and Romania.
In 2019, the Black Business and Professional Association (B.B.P.A.) awarded Burke the Harry Jerome Award in the Arts, Media, and Entertainment category. This award acknowledges a history of outstanding achievement in the creative arts, media, and entertainment industry. The Harry Jerome Award is one of the most prestigious national awards in the African-Canadian community in Canada.