Susanna Mendlow


DMA, SUNY Stony Brook
MM, Michigan State University
BA, Barnard College of Columbia University


Susanna is a versatile performer, arranger, and educator living in Washington D.C. She is a founding member of contemporary ensemble Kassia Music and world music duo DS al Cello and is the current cellist for the tango group QuinTango. Susanna plays a variety of musical styles, including western classical, ethnic folk, tango, and pop. As both a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Central Asia.

During her post-secondary studies, Susanna was the recipient of several scholarships and awards, including teaching fellowships for both of her graduate degrees. While pursuing her masters at Michigan State University, Susanna and three jazz students formed Moyindau, an experimental jazz and ethnic folk quartet. Moyindau performed throughout the contiguous US before touring Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic as part of a project to build cross-cultural connections through music. Subsequently, Susanna continued her exploration of arranging and performing non-Western music at SUNY Stony Brook, where she completed her doctorate. Her doctoral paper, “Musical Transcription and Arrangement in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Reinterpreting a Traditional Bulgarian Folk Song”, uses a personal case study to explore the concept of authenticity in modern music performance. Susanna studied with Suren Bagratuni, Misha Quint, and Colin Carr.

As an educator, Susanna strives to provide a well-rounded music-learning experience, which includes exploring multiple genres, improvisation, and music theory in a supportive and engaging environment. From 2015 to 2019, Susanna served first as Administrative Director and then as Executive Director for Cellospeak, a non-profit devoted to the education of adult cellists. She continues her relationship with the organization as a member of the faculty, coaching small ensembles and teaching classes on technique, musicianship, stage fright, and improvisation. As a member of QuinTango, she works with string orchestra students both locally and while on tour. Susanna also teaches cello in her private studio and piano at the Washington International School.

Recently, Susanna has enjoyed performing with her three main ensembles and teaching her varied students. In 2020, she earned an artist fellowship from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities as well as an Emergent Seed award for writing DS al Cello’s “Variations on Avre Este Abajour”. In 2021, she received another DC artist fellowship as well as a community outreach project grant for DS al Cello. Her debut album, which features her cello arrangement of Mendelssohn’s third violin sonata, is scheduled for release in 2022.