a tribute to Susan Allen
|music for susie|
A website conceived and edited by Jacques Burtin
Susan Allen (Monrovia, California, 1951 — Seattle, Washington, 2015) was an American harpist and music educator. She served as Associate Dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts, and taught harp and improvisation. She performed in a variety of genres — classical, experimental, jazz, and world music. She was particularly known for her world premieres of music for both the classical and electric harp by contemporary composers. She also played kayagum and she was an astrologer. Composer Nicholas Chase is posthumously co-authoring and completing Allen's book on improvisation Passage of Desire: Improvisation and the Human Journey.
Born Paris, France, in 1955, Jacques Burtin is a composer, improviser, producer, writer, and filmmaker. He plays the kora. He has issued about forty CDs. His films “Ce qui me perd me sauvera” (What damns me saves me) and “Le Dialogue des ombres” (The Dialogue of Shadows) were screened at the Festival de Cannes in 2011 and 2012; “L’Enfant de la République” (The Child of La République) was screened at the Bilbao Short Film Festival Zinebi in 2015. Jacques Burtin has been teaching kora and giving masterclasses since 1987; between 2002 and 2012, he conducted sessions of Initiation to Interdisciplinary Creation and Performance at the Fine Arts School of the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain) along with dancer and choreographer Alicia Gómez Linares.
Susan Allen and Jacques Burtin met in Los Angeles in 1997. They improvised from their very first meeting and each time they met, mainly in Paris. They built several projects based on free harp and kora improvisations, such as “Cinq Églises”, a five concert performance in five Parisian churches, and “Mobile Sources”, a performance concert with an electric harp, a gravi-kora, and chance-projected multi-format videos. They issued a CD of free improvisations in 2007: Renaissance, which in French means “rebirth”.