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Susan Davenny Wyner Biography

Susan Davenny Wyner

Susan Davenny Wyner has received international acclaim for her conducting. The Library of Congress featured her in its 2003 Women Who Dare Engagement Calendar, and the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour and WGBH Television have presented special documentary features on her life and work.

The New York Times called her conducting "rapturous" and "richly textured and emotionally compelling." Opera News Online praised the "terrific lyrical moments under Susan Davenny Wyner's deft baton,” the Cleveland Plain Dealer called her "a galvanizing presence," and the Chicago Tribune called her conducting "rousing and joyous." The Boston Globe wrote, "Under her baton the music breathes, lilts, romps, sighs and sparkles," and four times selected her conducted performances as Best Musical Events of the Year.

Susan Davenny Wyner's conducting credits include the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Odense Danish Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Lyric Opera, Cleveland Orchestra members in benefit concerts, and concerts at the Hollywood Bowl. Yo-Yo Ma, André Previn, Lynn Harrell, Claude Frank, Peter Serkin and Emanuel Ax have been among her guest soloists. She has recorded for Bridge and Albany Records, and The American Record Guide placed her Bridge Records release of the Orchestra Music of Yehudi Wyner on its 2009 Year's Top Ten.

 

Conducting a wide range of repertoire -- symphonic, opera, oratorio and choral -- from the 14th to 21st centuries, she has garnered praise for her work with period instruments as well as premiering over 40 new works. From 1999-2005 she was music director and conductor of the New England String Ensemble in Boston, which she brought to national prominence.

Davenny Wyner has been music director and conductor of the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra since 1999 and of Opera Western Reserve based at Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown, Ohio, since its creation in 2004. She has also been music director/conductor of Boston Midsummer Opera since 2007.

Initially trained as a violinist and violist, Susan Davenny Wyner went on to an international career as a lyric soprano, singing with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Israel, Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, among many others. She performed regularly with conductors Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Colin Davis, André Previn, Lorin Maazel, Helmut Rilling, Michael Tilson Thomas, Robert Shaw, Seiji Ozawa and Neville Marriner , often premiering works written especially for her. Recording for Columbia Masterworks, Angel/EMI, Naxos, New World, CRI and Musical Heritage, she won both a Grammy and a Grand Prix du Disc. After a hit-and-run accident destroyed her singing voice, she began her career as a conductor.

Davenny Wyner graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with degrees in both comparative literature and music. She continued her studies at Yale and Columbia Universities, at the Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, and served as assistant conductor of Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival, a position created especially for her. In 1998 the American Orchestra League named her a Catherine Filene Shouse Conductor, a first-time award given by a national panel of conductors and orchestral managers to a conductor poised for major career.

She has held conducting positions at the New England Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Wellesley College, and at Brandeis and Cornell Universities, and she has conducted numerous lecture demonstrations and master classes for the International Conductors Guild, at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and at Harvard and Yale Universities.

She is married to Pulitzer Prize winning composer and pianist Yehudi Wyner, whose music she has often performed, recorded, and premiered.

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