Susan Alcorn

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Susan Alcorn
Born1953 (age 70–71)
Known forcomposer

Susan Alcorn (born 1953) is an American composer, improvisor, and pedal steel guitarist.


Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Alcorn started playing guitar at the age of twelve and quickly immersed herself in folk music, blues, and the pop music of the 1960s. A chance encounter with blues musician Muddy Waters steered her towards playing slide guitar.[1] By the time she was twenty-one, she had immersed herself in the pedal steel guitar, playing in country and western swing bands in Texas.

Soon, she began to combine the techniques of country-western pedal steel with her own extended techniques to form a personal style influenced by free jazz, avant-garde classical music, Indian ragas, Indigenous traditions, and various folk musics of the world. By the early 1990s her music began to show an influence of the holistic and feminist “deep listening” philosophies of Pauline Oliveros.

Though mostly a solo performer, Alcorn has collaborated with numerous artists including Pauline Oliveros, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Kowald, Chris Cutler, Joe Giardullo, Caroline Kraabel, Ingrid Laubrock, Le Quan Ninh, Josephine Foster, Joe McPhee, Vinny Golia and Ken Vandermark, LaDonna Smith, Mike Cooper, Walter Daniels, Ellen Fullman, Jandek, George Burt, Janel Leppin, Michael Formanek, Ellery Eskelin, Fred Frith, Maggie Nicols, Evan Parker, Johanna Varner, Zane Campbell, Mary Halvorson and Bill Embleton and the Severn Run Country Band

She has written on the subject of music for the UK magazine Resonance and CounterPunch. Her article “The Road the Radio, and the Full Moon” was included in “The Best Music Writing of 2006” published by Da Capo Press.

She lived in Houston;[2][3] she lives in Baltimore.[4] She is married to photographer David Lobato.


  • "Uma" (Loveletter 2000)
  • "Curandera" (Uma Sounds 2005),[5] "Concentration" (Recorded 2004),
  • "And I Await the Resurrection of the Pedal Steel Guitar" (Olde English Spelling Bee 2007)
  • "Touch This Moment" (Uma Sounds 2010)
  • "Soledad" (Relative Pitch, 2015)
  • "Evening Tales" (Mystra 2016).[6]
  • "Prism Mirror Lens" (with Phillip Greenlief, VG+ 2019)
  • "Invitation to a Dream (with Joe McPhee and Ken Vandermark, Astral Spirits 2019)
  • "Pedernal" (Relative Pitch 2020)
  • "Bird Meets Wire" (with Ingrid Laubrock, Leila Bordreuil, Relative Pitch 2020)


  1. ^ "Maggie Nicols/Fred Frith/Susan Alcorn... - Avant-garde Jazz -". 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  2. ^ "Live New Orleans Music Reviews: Susan Alcorn". 2005-07-11. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  3. ^ "Susan Alcorn - Daily Planet - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-02-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Dusted Reviews: Susan Alcorn - Curandera". 2006-04-06. Retrieved 2016-08-07.
  6. ^ "Gig Alerts: Susan Alcorn - WNYC Culture". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-02-11.