The music of Suzanne Grosvenor is known for its sheer musicality and poetic lyricism.
The lifelong journey of music, for Suzanne, is an exploration into not only what music can communicate, but from where it comes and the motivations behind it.
For her, music is the psyche in motion. Music can speak to and convey the undercurrents of the psyche, of what we may call the spirit.
Suzanne reminds us of the importance of the music we listen to for music pours into us the memes of life, affirming of life's potential order and disorder and awakening a beauty, grace, flow, depth and subtlety from within us. Music can evoke deep layers and dimensions of our spiritual / emotional experience, influencing and enhancing our lives and our sense of being. Music is a language for the spirit that can bring harmony at subtle levels.
Music may be art, but more than that, it is message. The message of music transmitted through physical energetics and the intention behind it, for Grosvenor, is its most meaningful and influential aspect. Music is a language for communication and a stimulus for change, more than we may realize.
"Music stimulates us in engaging our subtle perceptions where we become more awake to the fine details in our experience. We take in the messages music transmits to us and we tend to believe what we hear. We may even become more of what we hear," Suzanne asserts, "as music can infuence our consciousness and set the tone and timbre of our lives."
Grosvenor's improvisational style is unique, more classical than it is jazz and the more usual improv styles, yet it is inclusive of many influences.
When she sets out to play a spontaneous interpretation, she does not intend to replicate a genre but plays "the sounds I hear as I hear them. . . from people, places and moments."
An award-winning pianist and composer, Suzanne was born into a classical music upbringing. She began performing her own music in recitals at age eight. At ten, she was a guest soloist in concert with a youth orchestra in playing Mozart and, at seventeen, was a winner of the Phoenix Young Musicians Concerto Competition. She was guest soloist with youth orchestra on two occasions in her teens, playing Grieg and Kabalevsky piano concertos. She played cello, violin, clarinet and percussion with a number of youth orchestras.
Suzanne was awarded scholarships to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and Arizona State University where she majored in music. Her studies emphasized music theory and composition through the ages, from Gregorian to Baroque, Romanticism, Impressionism, Modal music and Atonal Dissonance.
Ever drawn to improvisational music, Suzanne launched a career playing blues, jazz, rock and jugband type music, touring twelve US states. She let her hair down with bluegrass music, playing fiddle and the washtub bass for bluegrass jam sessions and the Tucson Bluegrass Festival. She jammed on the keys with Gypsy musicians of the northwest U.S., documenting their traditional songs in recordings. As a session player Suzanne has contributed to numerous albums, projects and movie soundtracks.
When she wrote and recorded the song 'You Can't Stop Her' on Bandolier Records in the 1970's it became a regional Top 40 radio hit and her band played warm-up in concert to David Byrne and the Talking Heads. Suzanne went on to play keyboards with the Don Latarski quintet whose jazz fusion album was in the Billboard charts.
Suzanne fronted a pioneering jazz fusion trio and quartet, playing original music at venues around Tucson and the First Annual Prima Vera Jazz Festival. Chuck Graham in the Tucson Citizen writes, "Ms. Kennedy plays keyboards, sings, writes and leads a trio that is becoming a living laboratory for experiments blending pop music with elements of classical and jazz...ranging from dramatic production numbers that have the sweep of movie soundtracks and primitive songs that are minimalist studies...Ms. Kennedy's band has a lyrical sound...but it also has a strong rhythmic drive, though lighter than the heavy handed throb of most jazz fusion groups."
A UNIQUE SOUND: COMPOSITION
In the 1980's Suzanne's music took a new turn as she began hearing original music almost continuously, in association with life experiences, giving birth to her unique composition style blending classical and jazz. She released her first piano album Lantern in the Window in 1984. See reviews.
Reviewers describe Grosvenor as "a master of composition" ... her music “exquisite, evocative and poetic” ... and her improvisational approach “cultivated to mastery.
Suzanne's soundtracks have showcased in film festivals around the world, from the Hiroshima Film Festival, American Film Festival and Film Arts Foundation, winning numerous awards and previewing in live theatre performance, on NPR radio, PBS television and the Disney Channel. Her recordings made hotlists of classical radio, alternative and college, community radio, and pop radio.
Her music was featured on the CD Lights Out II of various artists also featuring music of William Ackerman, David Lanz, George Winston, Eric Tingstad, David Friesen, Scott Cossu, Dehner Franks, Jeff Lorber and other artists.
When Vladimir Spivakov, preeminent conductor and violinist of Russia, heard Grosvenor's music while touring the United States in 1988, he requested that she compose a piece for his orchestra, the world-renowned Moscow Virtuosi Orchestra.
Suzanne began playing reflections on daily life and of the people she meets, not only as compositions, but as spontaneous improvisations at the request of friends and friends of friends, as they would sit with her. Through free improvisation, focused as intentional 'interactive music,' an extraordinary potential of music began surfacing.
Grosvenor's improvisations are known to stimulate healing responses in the people for whom she plays in both private sittings and concerts, custom-made for audience members. (Info at Music for Health.) Suzanne has created hundreds, if not thousands, of Sound Portraits for individuals and audiences since the 1980s. See website Music for Health addressing the Healing Power of Music.
In 2012 Grosvenor released a CD of spontaneous Sound Portraits, Piano Improvisations I; Light Shining Through.
In 2016 Face the Music came online as a website of Therapeutic Music specific for various moods, supporting health and wholeness.
Strolling Minstrel plans to release CDs of Grosvenor's compositions and improvisations in 2017. Subscribe to our mailing list for updates.
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An evolving composer,
her work merits wide attention.
Transnational Perspectives, Geneva, Switzerland
cultivated to mastery. Belies ideological distinctions between the composed and the improvised.
Mike Heffley, PhD, Musicologist
Sparkling piano wizardry.
Grosvenor is a master of original composition.
Eugene Magazine, USA
S U Z A N N E G R O S V E N O R