Ari Sussman

Photo Credit: Colin McCall (UM '20)

Doctor of Musical Arts

Praised for his work that “weave(s) a trance-like mystical aura” (Zamir Chorale), Ari Sussman (b. 1993) is a Philadelphia born and Ann Arbor based pianist, clawhammer banjoist, and composer of vocal, chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music. Kabbalah, nature, cosmology, meditation, metaphysics, ancient and contemporary poetry, the human condition, and human interactions are among Sussman’s non-musical influences and interests. As a result, Sussman’s music illustrates equivocal worlds of sounds that are ambient, euphonious, and ethereal in nature. Sussman is a two-time finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award and was a recipient of a 2018 BMI Student Composer Award and the 2019 Leonard Bernstein Fellowship in Composition from the Tanglewood Music Center. Sussman received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music with honors in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music where he received the Donald Martino Award for Excellence in Composition. and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of Michigan. His primary musical mentors include Michael Gandolfi, Kati Agócs, Evan Chambers, and Kristin Kuster. Sussman enjoys long walks, playing basketball, drinking tea, Broad City, mancala, cheesecake, and avidly rooting for Philadelphian and University of Michigan sports teams.


During my tenure at the University of Michigan, I attended the Tanglewood Music Center as the 2019 Leonard Bernstein Fellow in Composition, I won the UM 2019 Brehm Prize in Choral Composition in which the UM Chamber Choir premiered the winning work in Hill Auditorium, and I received a commission from the New York Youth Symphony for a new orchestral work to premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2022!