Susan Lankin-Watts

2015 Pew Fellow

1/4: Susan Lankin-Watts, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/4: Susan Lankin-Watts, 2015 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
3/4: Susan Lankin-Watts in performance. Photo by Alan Lankin.
4/4: Susan Lankin-Watts in performance. Photo by Alan Lankin.

“I want something deeper and more groundbreaking from my work—something that cradles and pays homage to the past, but does so with an ear for the now.”

Susan Lankin-Watts (b. 1966) is a fourth-generation klezmer musician striving to give new voice to the art form and create klezmer culture for a younger generation. She is a singer, trumpet player, composer, and arranger whose complex arrangements draw on influences from her family’s roots in this musical tradition—from her great-grandfather, who was a prolific poet, to her mother Elaine Hoffman Watts, the first woman to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music for percussion performance, and herself a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 2000. Lankin-Watts has studied music at the Esther Boyer College of Music at Temple University and the Saint Louis Conservatory of Music. She has been a workshop leader and music coach at Yale University, Temple University, the Eastman School of Music, the Royal College of Music in London, Luxembourg Conservatory of Music, and Paris Conservatory of Klezmer. The recipient of a 2014 grant from the Pennsylvania State Council on the Arts, Lankin-Watts has performed all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, and has released numerous recordings.


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