International Harp Archives

Susan McDonald Donation

Susann McDonald was born and raised in Rock Island, Illinois. She was about five years old when her parents rented her a small harp and signed her up for lessons from Mrs. Franklin Petersen. Mrs. Peterson introduced Susann to Marie Ludwig Giordano of Chicago, and at the age of thirteen and throughout high school, Susann became the youngest member of the Tri-City Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 17, Susanne was told by Mildred Dilling of Chicago to take lessons from Henriette Renié in France. As a result, she decided to study privately with Mlle Renié while attending the Ecole Normale Superieure de Musique. The next year Susanne simultaneously studied under both Mlle Renié and Lily Laskine. After being awarded the Premier Prix in the annual concours, Susanne played in Chicago as a soloist before 60,000 people at the Chicagoland Music Festival. Susann later played debut recitals in Los Angeles, Washington, and New York, appeared on the Today television show and began touring the US, Europe and South America. Her first college teaching position was at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she taught for 20 years. Later, she joined the faculty of the University of Southern California where she remained for the next 17 years. In 1981 Susann was appointed Professor of Harp at Indiana University, and in 1989 was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor of Music at Indiana University.

Adapted from: Beverly Larson Otfinoski. “An Interview with Susann McDonald”. American Harp Journal12 (Winter 1990): 3.