Susan Haugh has always seen performance as a vehicle for beauty, empowerment, and education. Her life as a conductor and composer has included a meditation on Hiroshima, a celebration of girl power and the baroque, choral ditty, The Lesbians, Alleluia! In 1995 she founded Pittsburgh’s Renaissance City Women’s Choir for lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied singers focusing on women’s and LGBT issues. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a BFA in Composition, an MA in Music Education, and a Certification in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Haugh taught music in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for six years. She has a private piano, improvisation and composing studio, and leads Tai Chi classes at an adult day care facility.
From 1988-1990 Ms. Haugh held the position of Assistant Conductor for the Westmoreland Youth Symphony Orchestra. Over the past 10 years she has studied conducting with various teachers including Robert Page, choral, and Harold Farberman, orchestral. In 2001 she guest-conducted the Vidin Philharmonic in Vidin, Bulgaria and in May 2005 was selected to conduct the festival chorus at the Equality Forum celebration in Philadelphia, PA.
A composer by trade, Susan received a McKnight Foundation Visiting Composer Grant in 2005. She has written numerous compositions and arrangements, and her works have been performed by groups in Philadelphia, San Jose, Aspen, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. In 2000 she received an individual artist grant from The A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation and in 2002 was commissioned by Hope Academy of the Arts through a grant from the Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative of The Pittsburgh Foundation.
As a volunteer, Ms. Haugh is currently Immediate Past Chair of Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl's LGBT Advisory Council, and is a member of GALA Choruses Inc. Youth Committee, an international association of LGBT choruses. From 2002-2005 she served on the Board of Directors of GALA Choruses, Inc. where she was Co-Chairperson of Festival VII International in July 2004, a quadrennial, international LGBT choral festival with over 5,000 participants. She completed her tenure as Vice President of the Board of Directors in July 2005. Concerned for the success of LGBT youth in Southwest PA, the Youth Service Coalition was founded in February 2008, by Dreams of Hope and fourteen other organizations that serve LGBT youth in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Coalition’s efforts (in the areas of mental health, providing safe spaces, housing and legal support for runaway and homeless youth, and outlets for artistic expression) reach thousands of youths in the Pittsburgh region each year.