Susan began trumpet lessons with her uncle at eight, joined the musician's union at fifteen and began playing with the local concert band. She later studied with Armando Ghitalla and Roger Voisin, principal trumpeters of the Boston Symphony. As a Boston area freelancer she played everything from Broadway musicals to the Ringling Brothers Circus. Classical performances included operas, orchestral concerts, chamber brass gigs with large ensembles or brass quintets, and solo recitals (with organ) on historical and modern trumpets.
won critical acclaim in Fanfare ("assured and musical"),
New England Performer ("sublime tone and warmth") and
American Record Guide ("flawless technique, tasteful dynamics").
Susan has taught music at Brown University, Wheaton College, UMass-Lowell and Berklee College of Music. At Berklee she created and taught a course about 20th Century women musicians, jazz and classical, and moderated Women in Music forums with such panelists as: jazz pianist Carolyn Wilkins, jazz flutist Barbara London, trombonist Abbie Conant, rock guitarist Lauren Passarelli, conductor Kay George Roberts, musicologist Judith Tick, pianist Virginia Eskin, and composer Pozzi Escot.
Biographical entries in Scribner's American Biography: Trumpeter Les Elgart, jazz singer Carmen MMcRae, jazz pianist Hazel Scott, conductors Antonia Brico and Thomas Schipper, Oscar Levant, organist E. Power Biggs; in Routledge's Jewish Women in America:Trombonist Dorothy Ziegler
Edna White Chandler: A Brasswoman Pioneer, Women of Note Quarterly, Vol 2, # 4, Nov. 1994
Growing Up in America: 1900-1920, a video documentary (1981-83)
Her award-winning suspense thriller, Absolution, was published in 2008.
A member of the Pioneers Committee of the International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC), Susan did extensive research on female brass players. At the first IWBC conference (1993) the Pioneers Committee distributed a booklet documenting the names and accomplishments of hundreds of women brass players.
In 2005 Susan discovered a "lost" all-woman band, the Original Shades of Blue (see photos in Images) and persuaded the New Orleans Times-Picayune to run a feature article on them. To preserve their history she interviewed Rita Gibliant, whose sister played in the band. The video is available at the Tulane University Hogan Jazz Archives and the National Park Service Jazz Historic Site.
On April 30, 2012 Susan had the honor of introducing legendary Boston Symphony principal flutist, Doriot Anthony Dwyer, at the Rochester (NY) Music Hall of Fame Awards.
SPEAKER and NOVELIST
A recognized authority on female musicians and a frequent speaker, Susan addressed the 2004 Tau Beta Sigma National Convention (Norfolk, VA). While living in New Orleans she gave jazzwomen lectures at the Jazz National Historic Park, New Orleans Public Library, Dillard University, and the International Music Colloquium at the Louis Armstrong Festival. She now divides her time between Boston and the Big Easy.
None of the materials on this web site may be used, reproduced or transmitted, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or the use of any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission. For permission, contact susan via email. susan [AT] susanfleet.com