Praised for his “sophisticated writing” (GTM), “nicely roving” work (Chicago Classical Review), and work that “weave(s) a trance-like mystical aura” (Zamir Chorale), Ari Sussman (b. 1993) is a Philadelphia born and Ann Arbor based pianist and composer of vocal, chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music. His music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe by ensembles such as The Chicago Ensemble, the KC VITAs Chamber Choir, Inventio Music, Zamir Chorale of Boston, Ensemble Ipse, American Modern Ensemble, Converge New Music, Zemer Chai, the Juventas New Music Ensemble, pianist Lior Willinger, and others. Kabbalah, nature, cosmology, meditation, metaphysics, ancient and contemporary poetry, and the human condition are among Sussman's non-musical influences and interests. As a result, Sussman's music illustrates equivocal worlds of sounds that are ambient, euphonious, and ethereal in nature.
Sussman has won the American Composers Forum: Philadelphia Chapter: Young Composers Scholarship, two Honorable Mentions for the Guild of Temple Musicians Young Composers Award, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra Young Composers Initiative, and was a featured composer for the ‘Shalshelet’ 6th International Festival of New Jewish Liturgical Music. Sussman is a two-time finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award, and his orchestral work Kol Galgal was a recipient of a 2018 BMI Student Composer Award. Sussman was also recently named composer-in-residence with the 208 ensemble in Boise.
An accomplished concert pianist, Sussman has performed many concerts and recitals throughout the Philadelphia and Boston areas. With a fondness for musical theater, Sussman has held music directorships for productions of Hairspray, Les Misérables, and The Last Five Years. With a love for folk/traditional music, Sussman plays piano for English country dance bands, Contra-dance bands, Old-time bands, and many other traditional music bands and ensembles.
Sussman received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music with Honors in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he received the Donald Martino Award for Excellence in Composition. He is currently pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition at the University of Michigan. His primary musical mentors include Joel Rothstein, Ellen Bildersee, Michael Gandolfi, Kati Agócs, and Evan Chambers.
In his spare time, Sussman enjoys long walks, playing basketball, Broad City, mancala, English country dance, and avidly rooting for Philadelphian and University of Michigan sports teams. Sussman is a member of the Landscape Music Composers Network.