Suzanne Ciani

Suzanne Ciani is an Italian American pianist and music composer, who found early success with innovative electronic music. She received classical music training at Wellesley College and obtained her M.A. in music composition in 1970 at University of California, Berkeley, where she met and was influenced by the synthesizer designer, Don Buchla. She studied computer generated music with John Chowning and Max Mathews at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Labs. In the 1990s Ciani founded her own music label, Seventh Wave, from which she has released all her subsequent albums, which have been more classically oriented than her previous recordings. 1994’s Dream Suite was recorded in Moscow with the Young Russia Orchestra, and was Grammy-nominated. 1999’s Turning featured her first composition with lyrics, in the title track, sung by Taiwanese artist Chyi Yu. In early 2006, Ciani’s Silver Ship won in The 5th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best New Age Album. Ciani was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards’ judging panel to support independent artists. Five of Ciani’s albums have been nominated for Grammy awards.


I am at the Amsterdam airport waiting to go to Berlin.  This will not be a fact for very long.
Gravity holds us together
Lightness of being let¹s us float


What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Classical and romanticmusic and the Buchla electronic music system.

How and when did you get into making music?
As a child I listened to records my Mother bought at a fire saleŠGrieg, Rachmaninoff, Chopin. She brought a Steinway piano into the house and I played it for hours a day, pretending to write pieces.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Glenn Gould¹s first recording of the Goldberg Variations Glenn Gould¹s second recording of the Goldberg Variations Avalon by Roxy Music.

What do you associate with Berlin?
I was there many years ago and I remember the cathedral and the stained glass.  It is a haven for artists in many areas and supports artistic expression and freedom.

What’s your favourite place in your town?
The beach.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Play tennis

What was the last record you bought?
Something by Dire Straits

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Andy Votel and Sean Canty

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Playing at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona. As a spectator, it was watching Glenn Gould play at Symphony Hall in Boston.

How important is technology to your creative process?
It is the ongoing instigator and partner in everything I do.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have 4 sisters and one is a big fan who gives my CDs as Xmas presents, one a visual artist and creator of my album artwork, one has a daughter who plays my piano music better than I do, and one thinks I should be teaching in Boston, Mass.

Our Favourites:

The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby” (1982)

Ciani on Letterman Show (1980)

Links: | Facebook | Interview with (name of the artist) by Digital in Berlin