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Susan Tepping
Works at Contrapuntal Press
Attended Seoul American High School, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Catholic University of America, Indiana University
Lives in Tucker, GA
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I was born in 1944 in Washington, D.C.  Ruth and Ben Tepping were my parents.  Mother was a horn player, and a public school instrumental music teacher.  Dad was a mathematical statistician, an avid chamber musician (playing the viola) and a fine woodworker.  I grew up in a house filled with music.  Mother told me that as a baby I sang before I was talking.  My earliest memories are of hearing string quartets on weekends, and of singing—singing in the house, singing in the car, singing in the bath, singing wherever. Later on, I played violin or viola duets with my Dad, piano duets with Mother.  We went to concerts, we played in concerts.  We went to chamber music camp together.  And we sang.
When I was six, Dad asked me, “What stringed instrument are you going to play?”  Viola was my choice.  However, I began on violin.  (Have you ever heard the sound of a 1/8 size viola?  It’s not nice!)  When I had grown into a full-sized instrument (eighth grade), I was given my first viola, and started a string quartet at my junior high school.  
There was a piano in the house.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t play, although I only began formal piano lessons when I was 10.  It was at about that time that I started composing.
I received a B.Mus. from the University of Michigan with a major in theory, and an M.M. in music education from Catholic University.  In the midst of that, I was married and divorced (7 cats, no kids), managed the music/book store at Peabody Conservatory, and even spent a (frustrating) year teaching seventh-grade general music.  Eventually I ended up teaching orchestra, class guitar, and music theory in the secondary schools of Prince George’s County, MD, for eight years.  During that time, I was director of the county’s Central Youth Orchestra, and the founder and director of the Prince Georges Chamber Music Association.
In 1979, I began doctoral studies at Indiana University.  My major was theory, with minors in viola and composition.  As a graduate assistant, I taught theory and ear training, and eventually had the responsibility for the first-semester course in aural skills.
In 1984, having completed all but the dissertation, I began work as theory professor at Georgia State University.  (My Ph.D. was finally awarded in 1987!)  During most of my tenure at Georgia State I was an active member of the Georgia Association of Music Theorists, serving on the staff and as editor of the journal GAMUT, and as program chair, and president.  From 1990 to 2000 I was coordinator of music theory and composition at Georgia State.  I retired in 2002.
In 2000, I founded The Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra, an intermediate-level string ensemble.  The Four Seasons Chamber Orchestra is a friendly, relaxed organization where musicians of all ages and levels of ability can come together to share their love of music and develop their skills in a supportive, non-competitive environment.  Never tell me that you used to play (or always wanted to play) a string instrument, because the next thing you know you’ll have a fiddle in your hand and be playing with us!
Now happily retired, I live in my dream house in Tucker, Georgia, with 21/2 poodles (Hildegarde von Bingen, Guido d’Arezzo and Lili Boulanger).  I have taught on an interim basis at Agnes Scott College and at the University of Georgia High Hodgson School of Music.  I now play more violin than viola, and I maintain a small studio of private students of violin, viola, cello, theory and composition.  I manage, sing and play guitar or bass with The Old Folkies, a seniors folk-singing group. I continue to compose.

  • Seoul American High School, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, Catholic University of America, Indiana University
Basic Information
Other names
Susan Tepping Harmon
  • Contrapuntal Press
    musician, present
  • Georgia State University, The University of Georgia, Indiana University, Agnes Scott College
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Tucker, GA
Washington, D.C. - Bloomington, IN; Silver Spring, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Seoul. Korea