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. Active in the Berklee community, Burega is the communications manager of the Berklee Film Scoring Network and is the coordinator of the Berklee Women's Film Initiative. 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 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.” Berklee student groups Burega has been a part of include the Berklee Pops Orchestra, the World Peace Orchestra, the Voodoo Children Collective jazz big band and the Berklee Musical Theater Club, among others.
A jazz advocate, Burega has two jazz websites aimed at educating young adults: Kind of Pink and Purple and Without a Poem. Her writing has led her to be a journalist for the Montreal Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival and the Detroit Jazz Festival. Burega has been a Newport Jazz Festival Student Ambassador and Evaluator, as well as a volunteer with JazzBoston. She is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association, the 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.