Suzanne Thorpe is a composer/performer, researcher and educator who lives at the foot of the Catskill mountains, on the banks of the Hudson river in New York. She creates compositions with a variety of media and technology, and performs primarily with electroacoustic flute and electronics. Her work, in all its forms, listens for and performs our cultural and material navigations and transformations in sound.
Thorpe holds an MFA in Electronic Music & Media from Mills College, and a Ph.D. in Integrative Studies from the University of California, San Diego. She is also a Deep Listening instructor, having studied in depth with American composer and Deep Listening founder Pauline Oliveros. Through an interdisciplinary method that combines creative practice with feminist and ecological theory, her research focuses on sound events that emphasize principles of inclusion, relational knowledge and coalition building.
Her career as a professional recording artist was initiated as a founding member of the critically acclaimed band Mercury Rev, with whom she toured and produced a number of recordings for labels such as Sony, V2 and Beggars Banquet, earning a Gold Record award for 1998’s Deserter’s Songs. In addition, as an electro-acoustic improvisor she’s performed with an inspiring array of musicians, such as Zeena Parkins, Chris Brown, Zbigniew Karkowski, Nate Wooley, Miguel Frasconi, Miya Masaoka, Philip White, Marshall Trammell and more.
Her compositions tend to be site-specific works that highlight her interest in sound’s contributions to our relationships with each other and our environments. The results are dynamic sound installations and performances that evolve with participants and their surroundings. They have been presented at venues such as Issue Project Room (NYC), Manitoga (Garrison, NY), Caramoor Center for Music and Art (Katonah, NY), River to River Festival (NYC), Exit Art (NYC), San Diego Art Institute (San Diego, CA), Noysky Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Mills College (Oakland), and California College of the Arts (Oakland) among others, and have been supported with grants from organizations such as Harvestworks Digital Media Foundation, New Music USA, and the MAP Fund.
Thorpe is currently a Mellon Teaching Fellow/Lecturer in Music at Columbia University, and co-founder, along with Bonnie Jones, of TECHNE, an arts-education nonprofit dedicated to dismantling gender barriers and rendering generous practices in creative technology fields.