Suzanne Gillen is thrilled to be joining Trade Winds Quintet! Suzanne is an active freelance performer and teacher in the Chicagoland area. She earned both her BM and MM in flute performance from DePaul University, studying with Mary Stolper and Jennifer Clippert. Upon completing the first year of her MM, Suzanne took some time away from her studies to make her professional theatre debut as “Lily” in Court Theatre’s production of James Joyce’s THE DEAD; the Chicago Tribune described her as “…especially deft at those dual actor/musician duties,” for that role. After working with the combined genius of Doug Peck and Charles Newell, she returned to DePaul to complete her degree and brought with her a new, unorthodox opinion of performance practice. Suzanne is passionate about the marriage of different performance arts in a production, and is always looking for opportunities to combine instrumental doubling with movement, acting, and singing; this includes but is not limited to a memorized and staged performance of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf in the fall of 2013. Since graduating, Suzanne has been on stage and in the pit orchestras for various theaters in the Chicago area, most notably in TimeLine Theatre’s production of JUNO, Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of SWEENEY TODD, and returned to Court Theatre as an actor musician for SECRET GARDEN (“Robin”).
More recently, Suzanne has been an avid supporter of contemporary music, commissioning works for solo flute by local composers. She premiered Eric Malmquist’s Sonata for Solo Flute in December of 2015 and in July of 2016 she premiered Jonathan Hannau’s Pathway for alto flute and voice: single performer. Her next commission is currently in progress.
Suzanne also has turned her energies toward private flute instruction. Suzanne is an invigorating, demanding, and encouraging flute teacher. Though she strives to make music fun and exciting, she requires diligent practice, focus, and a desire to continue improving from all of her students, regardless of skill level. She teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago, Marian Catholic High School, and in her private studio in Lincoln Park. Additionally, Suzanne is an active singer and choir director, and can be found waving her arms and insisting on proper vowel placement and clear diction in front of the St. Vincent Ensemble and temporarily with the DePaul University Liturgical Musicians.
In the summer of 2016, Suzanne set off to Thigio, Kenya to work with the Daughters of Charity. While there she taught recorder and singing, as well as worked with children with developmental disabilities. She fell in love with the people there and hopes someday to return.