Susan Powell is Professor and Director of Percussion Studies at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Powell is an active chamber performer, appearing with the Pendulum Duo and Sympatico Percussion Group at festivals, universities, and PAS Days of Percussion across the country. She has performed as a solo and chamber musician across the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Mexico, and is the recipient of the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching and the School of Music Distinguished Teacher award. Powell holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (BM) and Northwestern University (MM, DM).
Rhythm! Scene: What other jobs, music or otherwise, did you have prior to your current university position?
Susan Powell: I was fortunate to have a mother who worked as a costume designer in theater, so all of my summer jobs, from middle school through college, were playing musicals in local repertory theaters. Probably as a result of this exposure, I have a weird talent for remembering lyrics to showtunes, but I don’t see many career possibilities for using this in my future.
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town (other than your school of music or music department) that you are proud to tell people about?
SP: The North Market in Columbus is an amazing place! As the Percussive Arts Society convention used to land here in Columbus often, I’m sure many past PASIC attendees remember visiting it directly adjacent to the Columbus Convention Center.
R!S: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
SP: Anyone who knows me well knows I have a little dog with whom I’m in love. Anyone who doesn’t know me should know this, because she’s awesome. Her name is Leia (as in princess), so there’s another tidbit about me: I love Star Wars!
R!S: What is your favorite percussion instrument and why?
SP: What I love about being a percussionist is never having to choose just one! But if I have to select one, I do enjoy the xylophone, particularly seeking out and creating new repertoire for the instrument.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
SP: I split my childhood between Anchorage, Alaska and Casper, Wyoming, so I can claim past residence in rather unusual places. Between these two locations, I had amazing teachers and experiences in music for which I’m eternally grateful.