Born in New York City, Susan Synnestvedt comes from a musical family. Her father plays jazz trombone and her mother is a classical pianist. When Synnestvedt was 4 years old, she began violin studies at the Detroit Community Music School. At 12, she won as first prize in a local violin competition an appearance with the Detroit Symphony under Richard Hayman in which she performed the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. That same year, she began studying with David Cerone of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

With which other musician would you most want to play a duet, and why?

Mozart. I love his music and would be curious to learn how he wanted it performed.

Why did you choose your instrument?

I didn’t really choose. My mother’s sister heard about Suzuki violin lessons being offered at the Detroit Community Music School. My mom, a classical pianist, thought that I might like the violin. She already knew I had a good ear and could sing in tune. I was four when I started violin lessons. My two-year-old brother also started at the same time, but it might have been too early for him. He “retired” from the violin at age five.

What work are you most looking forward to performing this season, and why?

It was a thrill to perform Verdi’s Macbeth with Maestro Muti conducting. I had never played this opera before, and after twenty-seven years in the CSO, it’s wonderful to learn a new piece! There is nobody better to learn Verdi from than Maestro Muti. I am looking forward to performing Schubert’s symphonies with Maestro Muti in the spring. Some of them are very rarely played, and I’m sure they will be beautiful to play and to hear.

Offstage, I like to:

Take walks in our lovely village of Riverside; garden (yellow tomatoes are my specialty); travel; and spend time with my husband, our two children, and our sweet little dog

Favorite food or meal:

Caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden, fresh mozzarella and olive oil.


HOMETOWN: Born in New York City, but grew up in suburban Detroit, in Royal Oak, Mich.


EDUCATION: The Curtis Institute of Music.

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