Founding Director, ComMUSICation

St. Paul, Minnesota


Sara Zanussi is the founding director of ComMUSICation, an El Sistema-inspired choral program in St. Paul, MN, whose mission is to empower all youth with lifelong skills through musicking and building community. 

Sara has a B.A. in Music from Luther College, where she studied piano and voice. She also dabbles in acoustic guitar. Sara’s choral experience spans three continents (Africa, South America, and North America). She has directed community choirs both in Tanzania and in Decorah, Iowa. She has taught and accompanied for the past ten years with her business, Z's Keys, that won two entrepreneurship awards for her Skype lessons program.

Sara also studied in Valparaiso, Chile, where she also researched her undergraduate thesis, "Music is Worth More Than 99 Cents: Mapuche Music and Cosmovisión," published in the National Conference of Undergraduate Research Proceedings in 2010. She was an Umoja Music School fellow and assistant program coordinator in Arusha, Tanzania, where she taught voice and piano and facilitated fourth through sixth grade music classes at Tanzanian schools.

Returning in the United States in 2012, Sara’s passion led her to co-found Advocates for Community through Musical Excellence (ACME), an El Sistema-inspired program in North Minneapolis, MN, before being a Sistema Fellow at NEC.