Born in 1996 in Ottawa, Ontario, Grace-Mary Burega’s family moved to a suburb of Boston, Massachusetts while she was still a toddler. There, Burega unexpectedly fell in love with jazz by watching the popular TV show, “The Simpsons,” where the character Lisa Simpson plays the baritone saxophone and listens to Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool. Building off of her role model, Burega started playing saxophone at nine years old, quickly adding clarinet and flute to her arsenal while in middle school. A woodwind multi-instrumentalist, Burega performs on alto, tenor and baritone saxophones; clarinet and bass clarinet; and the flute, piccolo and alto flute.
While in high school, Burega received scholarships to study at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School. She received a scholarship to attend the Berklee Five-Week Summer program in 2013, where she was awarded a scholarship to study full-time at Berklee College of Music.
While at Berklee College of Music, Burega has studied saxophone as well as Film & TV Scoring. Burega has studied the baritone saxophone with George Garzone and Bill Pierce. At Berklee, Burega was a member of Rainbow Big Band directed by Tia Fuller and a member of Kenny Werner’s ensemble in the Effortless Mastery Institute. Burega was accepted into two application-based film scoring department classes: both Practicum and Documentary Practicum. Active in the Berklee community, Burega is the communications manager of the Berklee Film Scoring Network, the coordinator of the Berklee Women's Film Initiative and the marketing director of Berklee Film Music Socials. Burega has received Woodwind Departmental scholarships for her achievements on saxophone: the Joseph E. Viola award, the Paul Wagner award, and the Professional Performance Division Woodwind award. She has also received the Lester Lanin scholarship and the Berklee Achievement Scholarship for her excellence.
Burega has written the music for several media projects. She composed original music for three climate change PSAs for Boston University's Hothouse Productions and Litton Entertainment, which are a call to action for climate change. As part of Documentary Practicum, Burega wrote for a documentary short film on the results of the Rwandan genocide, directed by Beth Murphy. Burega also wrote the original music for Beijing Film Academy graduate, Liao Kang's experimental short film: Hypersomnia. In this film, the music and sound design told the inner feelings of the characters. Burega was the composer for Emerson student, Nikki McGovern's "Grow Up" online series.
Burega has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, Boston’s Symphony Hall, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall and the Berklee Performance Center. Burega has performed with the Brockton Symphony, Quincy Symphony, MetroWest Symphony, the UMass Boston Chamber Orchestra, the Mood Swings jazz orchestra, among other groups. Burega has played the reed book to numerous musicals including “Grease” and “Cabaret.”
Burega is a member of Women in Film & Video New England, The Alliance for Women Film Composers, and The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Burega’s work experience includes being the editor for the nonprofit JazzBoston newsletter, as well as working as a public relations assistant at the jazz PR firm Braithwaite & Katz and a booking and promotion assistant at the Amazing Things Arts Center.