Susan Hurley, soprano, is a performer and teacher with credits in Germany and Austria as well as throughout the United States. She has performed 25 principal operatic roles, including in two productions of Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, in which she sang the role of Zerbinetta. She has appeared as Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone at the Middle Saxony Theater in Freiberg, Germany. With Houston's Opera in the Heights, she appeared as Gilda (Rigoletto), Oscar (Un Ballo in Maschera), and Poussette (Manon). Other engagements have included Queen of the Night (Magic Flute), Musetta (La Bohème), Mabel (Pirates of Penzance), Lucia (The Rape of Lucretia), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Nightingale (L'Enfant et les Sortilèges), and Sister Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites), among numerous others. Susan has soloed with the orchestra of the Saxony State Theater, the Middle Saxony Philharmonic, the AIMS Festival Orchestra, MusicaNova Orchestra, Princeton Pro Musica, Voices Professional Ensemble, the Columbus MS Choral Society, the ASU Symphony Orchestra, and the ASU Wind Ensemble.
Susan is the founding Artistic Director of an AIDS Quilt Songbook benefit concert series, founded in 2014, that has become the annual launch event for a week of
World AIDS Day commemorations in Phoenix, Arizona. Performances are held in conjunction with displays of panels from the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and benefit AIDS service organizations in central Arizona. Concerts have included the metro area premieres of numerous selections from the Songbook. Concerts in 2015, 2016, and 2017 included world premieres of solo and chamber compositions composed specifically for the Phoenix benefits. These newly commissioned works set texts that deal with long-ago losses and with the experiences of HIV/AIDS long term survivors. During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, she produced a virtual Songbook performance to benefit the Joshua Tree Feeding Program safely during the pandemic with a virtual concert.
Susan has presented talks and lecture recitals about the AIDS Quilt Songbook for the International Congress of Voice Teachers (Vienna, 2022), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (Southern Region), the College Music Society (South Central Conference), Mississippi Music Teachers Association, the University of Mississippi and the Mississippi Governor's School.
A prizewinner at the 2002 international Meistersinger competition, she has appeared in concert and recital in Graz, Austria; Döbeln, Freiberg (Sachs), Leisnig, and Spickendorf, Germany. In 2010, in collaboration with pianist Eckart Sellheim and two other sopranos, she performed an all-Schumann song recital in honor of the composer's 200th birthday at the Middle Saxony Theater in Freiberg (Sachs), Germany.
She currently serves as Associate Professor of Voice at Mississippi University for Women, a co-educational university in Columbus, Mississippi where she teaches applied voice, opera workshop, music literature, performance techniques, and more. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University. Her 2012 doctoral research project, Singers and Sound: An Introduction to Tomatis-Based Listening Training for Singers, introduces theories and technologies of listening, and analyses research evidence which suggests that systematic listening training, as pioneered by Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis (1920-2001), may produce measurable outcomes to improve a singer's performance. She has presented Tomatis-based workshops with the Valley of the Sun chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and with the Mississippi Music Teacher's Association. In August 2017, she presented a session on the implications of Tomatis listening for singers at the International Congress of Voice Teachers in Stockholm, Sweden. She authored the chapter on Tomatis Listening in So You Want to Sing with Awareness, published in 2020 by Rowman & Littlefield.
Susan has been active with German Singer Summer/ German Opera Experience as voice teacher, script-writer, and stage director. She has served as editor of the voice pedagogy book, Hidden in Plain Sight: The Hermann Klein Phono-Vocal Method, by Daniel James Shigo (Voice Talk Publications, 2013).
In 2003, Susan completed a 700-hour yoga teacher training certificate. She has taught Yoga for Singers classes at the American Institute for Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She has also completed post-doctoral courses in Socially Engaged Art and in nonprofit management. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Music Teachers' National Association, and the College Music Society.