As both a composer and a singer, Susan Botti’s eclectic background and experiences are reflected in her music, in which theatrical influences play a vital part. Awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize in Music Composition, Botti was in residence at the American Academy in Rome from 2005 to 2006 and was the 3rd Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellow with the Cleveland Orchestra from 2003 to 2005. The orchestra premiered her work Impetuosity (conducted by Roberto Abbado); and a new work, Translucence, was commissioned and premiered (conducted by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst).
Botti’s EchoTempo (for Soprano, Percussion & Orchestra) was commissioned and premiered by Maestro Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic (with Botti and Christopher Lamb as soloists). Her chamber music project Gates of Silence was a commission from the Blakemore Trio. Inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid, it incorporates poetry by National Book Award finalist Linda Gregerson, whose Dido Refuses to Speak was awarded a 2011 Pushcart Prize.
A commission from the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Within Darkness was premiered at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center, with Martha Caplin as violin soloist. Botti’s Cosmosis was commissioned by a consortium of universities and premiered at Carnegie Hall, with conductor Michael Haithcock leading the University of Michigan wind ensemble and chorus, and the composer as soloist.
A CD of Botti’s vocal chamber music, listen, it’s snowing, features her operatic soliloquy, Telaio: Desdemona. Botti specializes in the performance of work by contemporary composers, including Gubaidulina, Crumb, Kurtág, Cage, Chihara, Pintscher, Matheson, and Partch. Tan Dun created several major works highlighting her vocal and theatrical talents, including his Red Forecast for soprano and orchestra, and the role of “Water” in his opera Marco Polo.
Botti received her Bachelor of Music from the Berklee School of Music and her Master’s degree in composition from Manhattan School of Music. Her vocal teachers included Hilda Harris, Drew Minter, Myron McPherson, and Nancy Armstrong. She is the recipient of the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and grants from, among others, Meet The Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Aaron Copland Fund. Ms. Botti was an Associate Professor of Composition at the University of Michigan before joining Manhattan School of Music’s composition faculty in 2006.