Susan began studying trumpet with her uncle at eight, joined the musician's union at fifteen and joined 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 and small ensembles, and solo recitals (with organ) on historical and modern trumpets.
Her 1993 CD, Baroque Treasures for Trumpet and Organ,
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 at Brown University, Wheaton College, UMass-Lowell and Berklee College of Music. At Berklee she created and taught a course about female 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.
At right: Susan teaches a trumpet master class
Don't miss her E-book about women musicians!
Biographical entries in Scribner's American Biography: Trumpeter Les Elgart, jazz singer Carmen McRae, jazz pianist Hazel Scott, conductors Antonia Brico and Thomas Schippers, pianist-raconteur 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, Nov. 1994
Growing Up in America: 1900-1920, a three-part video documentary (1981-83)
Her award-winning crime thriller, Absolution, was published in 2008. Book 2 in the award-winning Frank Renzi series, DIVA, arrived in 2011. Book 3, Natalie's Revenge, followed in 2012. Book 4, Jackpot, in 2013. Book 5, Natalie's Art, in 2014, Missing, in 2015.
TRUE CRIME ebooks: DARK DEEDS: Serial killers, stalkers and domestic homicides, 2013 and DARK DEEDS Volume Two, 2014
For two years Susan hosted a Rhode Island radio show with music, news and interviews (1981-83)
In 1992 Susan met Edna White, one of the foremost trumpet soloists of the early 20th Century. Read the inspiring story of her life and career in Women Who Dared: Trailblazing 20th Century Musicians A CD of her historic recordings is available here.
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 videotaped an interview with 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, Susan appeared at the 2004 Tau Beta Sigma National Convention (Norfolk, VA). While living in New Orleans she lectured about jazzwomen at the Jazz National Historic Park, the 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.
Her award-winning Frank Renzi crime thriller series has garnered many awards. Be sure to vsit her crime blog about serial killers, stalkers and domestic homicides.
Photo by Pete Wolbrette