Susanna was appointed as Director of the Dorset based Wessex Youth Orchestra in 2007. Mindful of the orchestra's long history of successful concerts, festival appearances, charity fundraising performances, foreign concert tours and TV and Radoio broadcasts, Susanna set about not only continuing but building upon these WYO traditions, and the WYO has long been one of the most successful regional youth orchestras in the UK.
Like most professional musicians, Susanna has fond memories of her time in youth orchestra and this has fired her enthusiasm to pass-it-forward to all young players, at all levels. Whilst regularly tackling ambitious mainstream symphonic repertoire, foreign concert tours and National Festival of Music for Youth appearances, Susanna has also brought to the podium her experience of working in the orchestral profession; performing in the some of the most notable concert venues in the world, working with world-class conductors and soloists, as well as offering insights into international touring, recording work including for film and TV, and perhaps most importantly, quite simply - how to be professional; an invaluable lesson that all youngsters can use in whatever career they choose to pursue.
During her time with the WYO, Susanna introduced a Mentor scheme, allowing WYO members the chance to learn (under her guidance) how to coach and work with the younger members of the Centre for Wessex Young Musicians, she has ensured WYO member access to professional rehearsals and performances, made regular sectional training with professional orchestral players an integral part of the WYO’s schedule, and has ensured a plentiful supply of solo opportunities for the talented young musicians in her care. As a result, the Wessex Youth Orchestra has welcomed some of the most talented young musicians from across the three counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The orchestra has appeared at the National Festival on several occasions, coming away with the most prized certificates of the day for “Performance Practice” – given in recognition of outstanding musical achievement, and has followed up with performances in the Schools Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall on three occasions, repeatedly being praised for bold and exciting orchestral sound, wide variety of tonal colours, rhythmic control and professional approach to performing.
Now part of the new not-for-profit Youth Music Wessex CIC, and in recognition of the type of repertoire that the orchestra regularaly takes on, the WYO has taken a name upgrade, becoming the Wessex Youth Symphony Orchestra. Susanna continues to develop new plans and projects, maintaining a proud Wessex tradition of top quality orchestral training for the young musicians on the South Coast.