« Previous Artist | Next Artist »

Susan Slesinger

How would you describe your music?

Contemporary Western art music (classical/serious music)

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

None---I am a composer looking for an academic position and a chance to have works performed.

Describe your gear.

I use an electronic keyboard or piano, paper and pencil or Finale software to compose

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

"The first time the difference was made clear was when I was looking for a more advanced composition teacher when I was 15 or 16. I met Anthony Hopkins (a British composer/BBC commentator/announcer) and he told me I needed to study with either Elizabeth Lutyens or Thea Musgrave as I should have a woman teacher.

Being a woman composer is different from being a man composer. During my Masters' degree there was only one other woman composer and during my doctorate I was the only woman studying composition. I also had to deal with sexual inuendos from male instructors, and male instructors were not empathetic to raising a family while being a composer. There were no female role models to follow at that time as most female composers were unmarried."

Related Themes: Cashing In

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I see a lot more performers in orchestras. However there are still very few women composers and the number enrolled in composition courses does not seem to have increased.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

I would tell a woman just starting out to be the best she can be, to minimise gender issues, and to try to ignore sexism while finding her own voice. I would also tell her to find a good mentor male or female.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

I started composing when I was 9 or 10 but was told not to waste my time by my then piano teacher. When I changed piano teachers, my new teacher said that she did not care about my playing and that I should get composition instruction. I was lucky enough to get accepted as an external student at Trinity College of Music when I was 13 or 14 and started formal composition studies at that time.

Related Themes: The First Time