Susan Waterbury

Retired Professor, Music Performance
School: School of Music, Theatre, and Dance
Specialty: Violin, Chamber Music


Hailed as an exceptional performer and empowering teacher, Susan Waterbury demonstrates a career devoted to passionate artistry and creativity. Her playing is lauded by reviewers as “singularly impressive” (Washington Post) and “especially compelling” (New York Times), with Strad Magazine championing her as part of “a generation of players recognizing spiritual and colouristic potentialities once practiced by bygone exponents.” Many of her former students maintain active careers in music and praise her as a “creative”, “energetic”, and “inspiring” mentor and teacher.

Ms. Waterbury is sought after for her innovative artistic character and extensive chamber music experience. 2018-2020 performances include playing Weekend of Chamber Music (NY), Washington Island (WI), and Deia International (SPAIN) summer music festivals, performances in San Francisco and Sacramento, (CA) as a member of Camerata Deia, and performances as a member of Trilllium Piano Trio (with Miri Yampolsky, piano, and Elizabeth Simkin, cello), Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble X, and a guest of Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble, the last four based in Ithaca, NY.  And a performance of Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Novgorodsky, piano and Elizabeth Simkin, cello, in 2019.

As a supporter of new music, Susan Waterbury has collaborated and performed with numerous composers including Joan Tower, Ellen Zwilich, John Adams, Jennifer Higdon, Christopher Rouse, Marc Mellits, Steven Stucky, Karel Husa, Sally Lamb, Dana Wilson, Jorge Grossman, Kamran Ince, and many others. 

Ms. Waterbury is especially committed to chamber music; she was a founding member of the award-winning Cavani String Quartet for 11 years, including 7 years as Quartet-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music.  With the Cavani Quartet, Ms. Waterbury performed and taught at concert series and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad, including appearances at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, the Phillips Collection, and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C.  The Cavani Quartet garnered numerous awards including First Prize in a Walter W. Naumburg Chamber Music, Cleveland Quartet, and Carmel Chamber Music competitions and received an Ohio Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.  

Ms. Waterbury has taught violin and chamber music at the Ithaca College School of Music since 2000, gaining the title of Professor in 2010. She has also taught at The University of Memphis where she was a member of the Ceruti String Quartet.  As a member of the Cavani String Quartet, she was the Quartet-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory (winter term), and the University of California at Riverside. As a speaker and clinician, she has given violin and chamber music master classes and presentations in China, Italy, and across the United States. 

In 2016, Waterbury launched Sunset Chamber Music and Lunch Music series at Red Newt Cellars Winery and Bistro in Hector, NY.  Both series have featured members of the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Tenzin Chopak, Richie Stearns, Judy Hyman, the Trillium Piano Trio, guests of and music faculty of the Ithaca College School of Music and Cornell University and many other artists in multiple genres, including jazz, old time, bluegrass, folk, classical, and more. 

Susan Waterbury trained at the Eastman School of Music, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Ohio State University studying with Donald Weilerstein, Walter Levin, and Michael Davis. She received extensive chamber music coaching from the Cleveland, Tokyo, Emerson, and Juilliard String Quartets. 

Susan Waterbury lives near Ithaca, NY with her husband, David Whiting, and their cat, Lola. Dave and Susan enjoy playing as a banjo/fiddle/singing duo called Catscratchers. 

"Throughout the evening, Ms. Waterbury proved to be a very accomplished violinist with great training."  Milliet Sanat, Izmir Turkey

"In addition to differentiating styles effectively, the player....showed considerable individuality in their solo lines.  Ms. Waterbury's songful flights...were especially compelling."  New York Times