Director of Choral Activities, Professor
Susan Davenport is Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at Southern Illinois University. While at SIU, she has also held positions as Assistant Director of the School of Music and Associate Dean for Students and Curricular Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. Currently, Dr. Davenport conducts the Concert Choir and Choral Union, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, choral literature and methods, and administers the choral program.
Under her direction, the choirs at SIU have performed at state and regional conventions and have performed internationally. The Concert Choir has been an invited ensemble in performances of major works with the Paducah Symphony and the Southern Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Recent performances with the Choral Union and Concert Choir include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Requiem, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. With the SIU Concert Choir, Davenport has been privileged to premier new works by Augusta Read Thomas, Chen Yi, and Shulamit Ran.
Davenport toured with the SIU Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble to the People’s Republic of China in 2008, where she conducted the world premiere of As Far As Cho Fu Sa, a work by SIU composer Kathleen Ginther. In May 2012 and May 2016, members of the SIU Concert Choir and Wind Ensemble spent three weeks in Dublin, Ireland, in residence at the Gaiety School of Acting: The National Theater School of Ireland, developing and performing an original theater concert projects, The Faustian Flag and Malacoda’s Bridge: The Ninth Circle of Hell.
Before joining the SIU faculty, Davenport was Coordinator of Choral Activities at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas where she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the TWU Concert Choir at the National Women’s Choral Festival in May of 2005. She has conducted All-State choruses and Honor choirs throughout the United States and serves as a clinician and adjudicator at regional and national choral events.
Her doctoral research explored the choral music of Johannes Brahms for women’s choirs. Her current research interests lie in the connections between poetry and choral music, including the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, and specifically the choral settings of Chamber Music, a set of poems by James Joyce. She has published in the Choral Journal, including “The Poet Sings; Choral Settings of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry.” Associated with the Gaiety School of Acting: The National Theater School of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, she has composed music for three original dramatic productions, The Long March, Poor Tom and The Half-Moon Couple.
Prior to her collegiate teaching, Dr. Davenport had a lengthy career in public school music. She holds degrees in music education from Campbellsville University (KY) and Western Kentucky University, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University, where she was a DeVitt Jones Scholar. While at Texas Tech, she was the founding conductor of the Texas Tech Women’s Chorale and served as Assistant Conductor of the Lubbock Chorale. She is a founding member of the Ken Davis Chorale based in Dallas, Texas where she serves on the Board of Directors. Davenport is listed in Who’s Who in America and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Illinois Chapter of ACDA where she has served on the Board, the Illinois Music Educators Association, and Pi Kappa Lambda music honorary fraternity.