Skip to page content

Susan Botti


About this Artist

As both a composer and a singer, SUSAN BOTTI's eclectic background and experiences are reflected in her music. Whether in an orchestral or chamber setting, theatrical influences play a vital part in her musical expression.

Botti was awarded a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2005 Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize in Music Composition. During the 2005/06 season she was in residence at the American Academy in Rome.Recent compositions include: Tagore Madrigals, Stelle, 2 Gregerson Songs, and Make-Falcon (a work in progress for chamber choir and percussion ensemble). Currently in progress is a 3-part commission from violinist Carolyn Huebl and the Blakemore Trio - works for violin and piano, piano trio, and piano trio plus soprano (Botti) - which will premiere in the 2008/09 season at Vanderbilt University and at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall.

Botti was the third Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow with the Cleveland Orchestra. In 2003/04, the orchestra premiered her work, Impetuosity (conducted by Roberto Abbado), and a new work, Translucence, was commissioned by the orchestra and premiered in the 2004/05 season, conducted by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.

In February 2005, she premiered Cosmosis at Carnegie Hall (settings of poetry by May Swenson). This work was commissioned by a consortium of universities led by the University of Michigan and conductor Michael Haithcock, who led the premiere with Botti as soloist. A recording of Cosmosis is available from Equilibrium.

Her EchoTempo was commissioned and premiered by Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic (with Botti and Christopher Lamb as soloists). The European premiere of EchoTempo (with the same soloists under Gunther Herbig) occurred soon after in the Musik im 21. Jahrhundert festival in Saarbrücken, Germany. She performed this work in April 2005 with HK Gruber and the NPS Radio Orchestra in Utrecht, Holland with percussionist Peter Prommel.

A commission from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for solo violin and chamber orchestra, Within Darkness, was premiered at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in 2000 with Martha Caplin as violin soloist. A CD of Botti's vocal chamber music, listen, it's snowing, (New World/CRI) features her operatic soliloquy, Telaio: Desdemona. Called "striking emotional music..." (Opera Magazine), this work has been performed in New York City, Detroit, Santa Fe, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.

Botti specializes in the performance of contemporary music by composers of diverse styles, including Gubaidulina, Crumb, Kurtág, Cage, Chihara, Pintscher, and Partch, among others. Composer/conductor Tan Dun created several major works that highlight her vocal and theatrical talents. She premiered his Red Forecast for soprano and orchestra with the BBC Scottish Symphony and performed that work's U.S. premiere at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra. Tan Dun also wrote the role of "Water" for her in his internationally renowned opera, Marco Polo (Sony Classical), which she premiered at the Münchener Biennale and subsequently performed in Europe and Asia and at the New York City Opera. She can also be heard in Tan Dun's soundtrack of The Banquet.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Botti's early training included studies in music, art, and theater. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Berklee School in Boston, and her Master's in Music Composition from the Manhattan School of Music. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and grants from Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the NY Foundation for the Arts, the Greenwall Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, ASCAP, and the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. A member of the Composition faculty at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor from 2000-2006, she currently serves on the composition faculty at the Manhattan School of Music in NYC and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Music Center.