Innovations

Susan enjoys experimenting with the idiom, and strives to expand the literature to bring handbells into the mainstream. Some of her innovations include: 

  1. Bullet the first handbell composer to have a concert abroad by invitation, consisting entirely of

    their compositions; and the first to present an international graduate handbell composition

    degree recital and master’s thesis

  1. Bullet the first handbell composer to be the subject of a international commercial documentary film

  2. Bullet the first handbell composer to have an arrangement used for a TV commercial abroad

  3. Bullet the first original compositions written solely for Petit & Fritsen bells

  4. Bullet pioneering the use of "alternate bells" (a phrase she coined) in handbell compositions

  5. Bullet expanding the use of optional instruments and/or flexible instrumentation

  6. Bullet inventing new handbell and chime articulations/percussive techniques

  7. Bullet use of cue note so the piece grows with the choir’s abilities

  8. Bullet writing extended, longer works for handbells

  9. Bullet original compositions in a diverse genres including world musics, early music, new age, etc.

  10. Bullet the only handbell composer to write a double handbell quartet using only one 3 octave set

    of bells, (1½ octaves per quartet) with no overlap of notes between the two quartets

  1. Bullet the first handbell composer to write works with a "piece within a piece" (when arranged

    material is omitted, the piece becomes an original composition)


A creative, prolific composer, Susan is known internationally for her unique original compositions and ability to write in a wide variety of styles, from traditional to jazz; gamelan to klezmer.  A list of some of her more unusual works may be found here.