Conductor and chorus master Susanne Sheston is currently the Chorus Master of the acclaimed Santa Fe Opera, a position she has enjoyed since 2008. As a chorus master, Sheston has collaborated with many of the world’s leading operatic and symphonic conductors (see below). Her work at Santa Fe has included choral preparations for six world premieres and two North American premieres. Sheston was chorus master for the Grammy-award-winning recording (Best Opera Performance, 2019) of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, recorded live at Santa Fe Opera on the Pentatone label. Her work can also be heard on the 2016 Grammy-nominated recording of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain.
As a conductor, Sheston recently led performances of Stephen Paulus' Shoes for the Santo Niño for The Santa Fe Opera. Also recently, she conducted Mahler's Symphony No. 1 and Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra. For Utah Opera, Sheston conducted productions of Don Pasquale, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi, and L'Elisir d'Amore. As a staff conductor with Utah Opera/Utah Symphony, Sheston conducted the annual Messiah Sing-In for ten years, as well as numerous gala concerts with singers. Her acclaimed debut with the Deer Valley Music Festival, summer home of the Utah Symphony, was a concert of Mozart and Haydn symphonic and choral works.
Previously, Sheston was the director of both the Utah Symphony Chorus and the Utah Opera Chorus in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as Chorus Master and Associate Conductor at Des Moines Metro Opera. Her tenure with the Utah Symphony brought the opportunity to prepare a wide range of major choral works with orchestra, including (among others) choral symphonies of Beethoven, Mahler, and Vaughan Williams; the Requiems of Mozart, Fauré, Brahms, and Verdi; dramatic pieces such as Berlioz's Damnation of Faust and L'Enfance du Christ, Orff's Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn's Elijah, and the Bernstein Mass; as well as unusual repertoire such as Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden, Grieg's Peer Gynt, Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, and Michael Tippett's A Child of Our Time, among many others. Her work as the chorus master and assistant conductor of Utah Opera, where she also contributed to artist casting assignments, included preparation of over 50 productions, spanning eleven seasons.
Sought after as both a vocal coach and piano teacher, Dr. Sheston taught piano, choral music and music history at Simpson College for three years. She makes her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
*Collaborations include projects with Maestros David Robertson, Edo de Waart, Leonard Slatkin, Patrick Summers, Corrado Rovaris, Emmanuel Villaume, Sir Andrew Davis, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Stephen Lord, Kenneth Montgomery, John Nelson, Andrew Litton, Keith Lockhart, Thierry Fischer, Bernard Labadie, Santa Fe Opera Music Director Harry Bicket, and many others.