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Susan Allen

A native of Santa Barbara, California, Susan Allen is well known internationally for her performances of new and improvised music. Her appearances have included concerts on the NBC Today Show, National Public Radio (with the Vermeer String Quartet), Gaudeamus International Music Week in Rotterdam, the Festival de Caracas, the London (Ontario) Regional Art Gallery, New York Philharmonic's "Horizons" concerts, the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany, at the Kitchen Center in New York, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Weill Recital Hall, the Smithsonian Institute, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Los Angeles Festival, the nationwide Festival of Korea, Monday Evening Concerts, with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Speculum Musicae, SONOR from the University of California at San Diego, and in Boston with Composers in Red Sneakers, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Cambridge Chamber Players, and Musica Viva. Long-term collaborations with composers James Tenney, Earl Kim, Mel Powell, Harold Budd, John Cage, Ruth Lomon, Morton Feldman, William Thomas McKinley, Pierre Boulez and many others have yielded her premieres, performances and recordings of major 20th and 21st century repertoire for harp. Of her solo concert debut featuring many new works, the New York Times wrote, “sheer physical virtuosity…sensitive, expertly played.” Susan's work in improvised music has taken her to the Verona Italy Jazz Festival and the Stockholm Jazz and Blues All Star Festival, in many instances in collaboration with jazz great, Yusef Lateef. Her musical creations have been called “daring improvisations…fascinating” by Jazz Journal International (UK). She has performed at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles with a grant from Meet the Composer/Rockefeller Foundation/AT&T Program in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts. Allen has improvised alongside saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, sitarist Amiya Dasgupta and trumpeter/composer Ismael Wadada Leo Smith. She has also performed with drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath (Modern Jazz Quartet), violinist L. Shankar (WOMAD Artist), jazz great Dave Brubeck, guitarist Kevin Eubanks (NBC Tonight Show bandleader), H’arpeggione virtuoso Erik Hinds, along with Russian greats Sergey Letov, Arkady Freeman, Roman Stolyar and Sergey Belichenko. Her recitals of works by women composers have been presented at the First and Second International Congresses on Women in Music (at New York University and the University of Southern California), Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston, S.C., the Women's Music Festival at Boston University, Op. 2 at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and at the Fifth International Congress on Women in Music in Heidelberg, Germany.

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Album Review

Susan Allen - Vinny Golia: Duets

Read "Duets" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Woodwind specialist/improviser/composer and big bandleader Vinny Golia knows no bounds! Here, the highly esteemed California denizen performs a series of attractive duets with harpist Susan Allen on the aptly titled recording, Duets.

On this release, the maestro utilizes an arsenal of clarinets, flutes and saxophones or just about any wind instrument imaginable. Yet the duo often provides surreal soundscapes via contrasting dialogue amid a distinct sense of unity and unaffected beauty as Ms Allen’s nimble flurries and implied rhythms counterbalance ...

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

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New World Records


Saturn's Rival







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Nine Winds Records



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