B.A., Wellesley College
Suzanne E. StumpfSenior Music Performance Faculty Emerita in Flute, Baroque Flute, and Chamber Music
Specialist in chamber music; performer on modern and historical flutes; fosters study of repertoire within context of history/culture.
I have taught for the Wellesley College Music Department since 1985. My teaching has involved a combination of chamber music coaching and private flute lessons, both on modern and Baroque flutes. From 1985-1999, I was also Concert Manager for the department. In that role I focused on developing interdepartmental and interdisciplinary connections for the performances we presented, as well as highlighting the diverse talent of the department’s performing faculty in most of those programs. As a performer, I am especially interested in the study and presentation of repertoire within its broader cultural milieu. In my own chamber concerts and recitals, I program selections around themes that explore specific topics. Although I enjoy orchestral playing immensely, my passion is for chamber music. I love this “democratic,” one-on-a-part, conductor-less mode of communication between musicians in which all players have equal input.
As a Wellesley alum, working with the inquisitive young women at Wellesley has been a pedagogical favorite for me. In my approach to coaching chamber music and teaching interpretation, I empower my students by helping them to identify questions they must ask as well as encouraging them to openly explore with different solutions. To assist my flute students with growing technical skills, I have developed a program which solidifies the foundation to tone and other fundamentals and offers practical exercises that tackle common challenges. I am delighted when students take lessons or chamber music for credit, but equally supportive to those who choose the non-credit option. I am especially pleased to support students who take on recitals and extra projects. Some topics that have been explored in my studio include 20th-Century Flute Techniques, The Art of Performing Baroque Music on Period Instruments, and Musical Creativity and Expression in Works for Solo Flute.
Although I have performed with many orchestral and chamber ensembles through the past decades, my front-and-center artistic passion is Musicians of the Old Post Road for whom I have been co-artistic director and ensemble member since 1989. Old Post Road is a chamber ensemble specializing in performing music from the Baroque through the Romantic on period instruments, including repertoire that has been “lost” to audiences for centuries. The ensemble has won several grants and awards for its innovative programming, including the Noah Greenberg Award (American Musicological Society). All of the ensemble’s five CDs include previously unrecorded repertoire.
Another professional highlight for me was meeting and working (and mushroom hunting!) with John Cage in the 1980s at a music festival in Vermont. My interest in his music, writings, and philosophy reaches back to my college days at Wellesley. In a quite different artistic direction, I have become dedicated to working in clay since taking my first ceramics class in 1999. The juxtaposition of the “tangible” world of visual expression to the temporal world of music is very inspiring. I create mostly one-of-a-kind vessels and sculpture. My work has been in numerous national exhibitions. Other passions include gardening, cooking, photography, and enjoying life with my husband and our two very funny cats.