Suzanne Ciani - Bio and Resumé

About Suzanne

Image of Suzanne in cloudSuzanne Ciani is a composer, recording artist, and pioneer in the field of electronic music and sound design. She is best loved for her fifteen albums of original music which feature her performances in a broad array of expressions: pure electronic, solo piano, piano with orchestra, and piano with jazz ensemble. Her music, renowned for its romantic, healing, and aesthetic qualities, has found a rapidly growing international audience, and her performances include numerous benefits for humanitarian causes.

Currently Ciani resides in Northern California where, in 1995, she established her own record label, Seventh Wave. Ciani felt the need to own and control her own creative work. "In many ways, this label represents the culmination of the long journey of my evolution as a recording artist," says Ciani.
In the eighties and early nineties, in order to finance her recording projects, Ciani brought her expertise to Madison Avenue. Her New York-based commercial production company, Ciani-Musica, Inc., was the leader in the field of sound design and TV spot scoring, creating award-winning music for a host of high profile Fortune 500 clients, including Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, A T & T and General Electric. Additionally, Ciani has scored the Lily Tomlin feature 'The Incredible Shrinking Woman,' and 'Mother Teresa', as well as scoring for the TV daytime serial 'One Life to Live'.Another Suzanne picture
In the early nineties Ciani re-located to northern California to concentrate on her artistic career from her sea-side studio. She has toured throughout the United States, Italy, Spain, and Asia.
Her many recognitions include five Grammy nominations for Best New Age Album, an INDIE award for Best New Age Album, numerous Clios, a Golden Globe, and Keyboard Magazine's "New Age Keyboardist of the Year."
Ciani is a graduate of Wellesley College and holds a Masters in Music Composition from the University of California at Berkeley.

Suzanne Ciani's Early Career

Getting Started

At the age of five, Suzanne taught herself to play piano, inspired by Bach and the composers of the Romantic era. She received her classical music training at The Longy School of Music and at Wellesley College, in Massachusetts, and then headed for the University of California at Berkeley for her master's degree in music composition and a fortuitous meeting with a synthesizer pioneer.

University of California at Berkeley

While in University of California at Berkeley, Suzanne fell under the spell of the synthesizer designer Don Buchla and set her course for electronic music. She says, "His designs for instruments were extraordinary. He brought the thought process of designing musical instruments right down to the origins of physical human nature and music. There is nobody like him."

Visit the link, Suzanne and Electronic Music
New York, TV and More

In 1974 Suzanne moved back to New York and started her own production company, Ciani/Musica, where she electrified the commercial music scene with her unique sound design for television advertising and arcade games. Her vocal processing, using a series of devices she dubbed "the voice box," became a trademark sound.

Visit the link, Commercial Themes and Sound Logos
Visit the links, Early Ciani Photo Gallery

and the Ciani Mementos page

The Artist Emerges

While she was in demand by the Fortune 500, her artistic self-expression soon drove Suzanne to eclipse her production company with her solo recording work. Her 1982 debut release, "Seven Waves," became a hit first in Japan. Her second album, "The Velocity of Love," connected quickly with the New Age radio stations that had begun to appear in the U.S.

Building The Recording Catalog

After releasing five CD's on the Private Music label, two of which were Grammy-nominated, Suzanne discovered she had breast cancer and realized she must get out of the frantic New York lifestyle, get healthy and devote her time exclusively to her own music. She moved back to the West Coast and began writing and recording. Her output has been prolific ever since.

The Home Studio

At home in Bolinas, California, Suzanne found the tranquility and inspiration to hone her reputation as a technologically self-sufficient New Age artist. With the merging of her home and studio, her life fell into complete harmony.

Her Biography

Suzanne began her life with music at the age of seven when her mother brought home a collection of classical albums from a neighborhood fire sale. Suzanne was immediately entranced by the melodies of Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. As the third of six children in a busy suburban household near Boston, Suzanne found her own space by teaching herself to play the piano and to read music.

As an undergraduate at Wellseley College, Suzanne began dividing her time between performance and composition. She also began her fascination with technology when one of her classes took a field trip to nearby M.I.T., where a professor demonstrated his early attempts to make a computer produce the sound of a violin. Upon graduation, she went to the University of California at Berkeley to continue her studies in composition. She received her Masters Degree in composition there, but more importantly, at nearby Stanford University and Mills College, she met three of the founders of electronic music: John Chowning, Max Matthews and Don Buchla.
Suzanne became entranced with the ability to produce music with a machine, and she became a devotee of synthesizers for the next two decades. She has often joked that for at least ten years she was essentially married to her Buchla synth, and in fact she did leave the massive machine running for months at a time, programming it to compose and play endless compositions.
For Suzanne, this was the essence and importance of the synthesizer - it could do things no other instrument in history could do! It could work sub and super sonically; it could hold a note for days; it could play with perfect pitch in a perfect sine wave. Using dials, knobs and patch cords, Suzanne engaged in an elegant dance with her synthesizer to produce her ground- breaking electronic albums, while always remaining true to her classically inspired sense of melody.

Suzanne believe that the synth should follow its own course as an instrument, but her position ultimately lost out to those who wanted simple machines that duplicated the sounds of other instruments and had preset voices. As this change in the world of electronic music and instruments came about, Suzanne found herself returning to classical instrumentation in support of her melodies, culminating in her Grammy-nominated album for piano and orchestra, "Dream Suite." This same sensibility is evident in "Pianissimo II" and "Turning" as well.

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