Bio

Swiss/Dutch singer and composer Susanne Abbuehl was born in Berne, Switzerland, on July 30, 1970. Drawn to music and language early on, composing songs and writing words in her own language, she started studying the harpsichord as a child. At age seventeen, she moved to Los Angeles where she graduated from high school and started taking lessons in classical singing. She was a member of a high school jazz group that toured the U.S. and Canada. Back in Europe, she took up professional education in jazz and classical voice at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where she studied with Rachel Gould and the late Jeanne Lee. She earned a Masters of Arts degree in Performance and Music Pedagogy, graduating cum laude.

Abbuehl also studied North Indian classical vocal music with Dr. Indurama Srivastava in Amsterdam and later became a student of famed master singer Dr. Prabha Atre in Bombay, to whom she regularly returns.

She studied composition and analysis with Dutch composer Diderik Wagenaar.

Her recordings for ECM, „April“ (2001), and “Compass (2006) received wide critical acclaim internationally. „April“ won an EDISON Music Award (Dutch Grammy) in 2002.

2013 brought the release of „The Gift“, her third recording for ECM. It features compositions by Susanne Abbuehl for poems by Sara Teasdale, Emily Brontë and Emily Dickinson. Produced by Manfred Eicher, the line-up includes Dutch pianist Wolfert Brederode, Swiss flugelhornist Matthieu Michel and Finnish drummer Olavi Louhivuori. 

 With her own group, Susanne Abbuehl has toured extensively and was invited to perform at major festivals in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

She performed and recorded with musicians from various musical backgrounds, including the Jeanne Lee Music & Dance Ensemble, Christof May, Stephan Oliva, Michel Portal, Mats Eilertsen and Paolo Pandolfo. 

 Susanne Abbuehl has been commissioned to compose for various settings, including work for radio, theatre, and sound environments.

Her composition “Der Gaukler Tag”, a radio play produced for Swiss National Radio SRF with Claude Salmony, performed by her students in Lucerne, and featuring her colleague Lauren Newton as well as actress Marie Jung as speakers, was nominated for the 2013 Prix Marulić. 

As the only non-American singer, she was chosen by the Downbeat Critics Poll 2002 in the category “Best Female Vocalist/Talent Deserving Wider Recognition”. In the same poll, one year later, she held the 6th position in the category “Rising Star Female Vocalist”, and her album “April” was featured among the best in the category “Beyond Album”.

Susanne Abbuehl is Professor at the music universities in Lucerne and Lausanne, Switzerland. She has also lectured in France, Italy, England and Holland. 

Bibliography: 

Philippe Carles, André Clergeat, Jean-Louis Comolli: Le Nouveau Dictionnaire du Jazz, Robert Laffont, Paris, 2011
Steve Lake, Paul Griffiths: Horizons Touched – The Music of ECM, Granta, London, 2007

 Scott Yanow: The Jazz Singers – The Ultimate Guide, Backbeat Books, New York, 2008