Composer, Musical Director, Musical Supervisor
( b. Apr 26, 1935 Springdale, Pennsylvania, USA - d. Nov 21, 2013 San Francisco, California, USA ) Male
Conrad Susa was a composer for the voice, for the theater and for the operatic stage. He also was a professor of composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he had taught since 1988. He was formerly the composer in residence at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, a post he held from 1959 to 1994.
Of the five operas Mr. Susa wrote, perhaps the most widely performed is his first, "Transformations," based on a cycle of poems by Anne Sexton that reimagines Grimm's fairy tales. A chamber opera, "Transformations" received its premiere at the Minnesota Opera in 1973 and has since been produced throughout the country, including at the Spoleto Festival USA, in Charleston, S.C., and the Manhattan Theater Club.
Mr. Susa was also well known for "The Dangerous Liaisons." That opera, with a libretto by Philip Littell, was based on Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's 18th-century novel chronicling the erotic machinations of the French aristocracy.
For the Old Globe, Mr. Susa composed more than 200 suites of incidental music, notably for Shakespearean works. In the 1960s and '70s he also wrote music to accompany many Broadway plays, including a 1968 revival of Chekhov's Cherry Orchard, directed by Eva Le Gallienne and starring Uta Hagen and Donald Moffat, and a 1977 production of Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra, directed by Ellis Rabb and starring Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Ashley.
Mr. Susa also worked as a dramaturge for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn.
Mr. Susa's work, tonal and melodic, ranged across a spate of styles: a single composition might incorporate aspects of Baroque music, tango and jazz. While some reviewers appeared discomforted by his eclecticism, many others praised his lyricism and lush sonorities.
Source: The New York Times obituary