Susie Self
mezzo soprano ~ composer

Composer Susie Self studied at the Royal College of Music and Cambridge University. She won scholarships from the Royal Society of Arts, The Banff Centre, Canada, and most recently a STEAM scholarship from Birmingham City University to read for a PhD in composition, from where she has now graduated. In 2016 she conducted her opera The Butt based on Will Self’s novel at the Musiktheatertage Festival in Vienna. The British Ambassador invited her and Will to a Q & A.


Susie Self is now published with Composers Edition.


"The music of The Butt was stylistic with great variety: it was skilfully worked and crafted, offering a variety of moods and motivic links."

Stefan Ender, Der Standard, September 2016

15’ extracts: The Butt


Susie’s opera Quilt Song premiered at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, on 19th October 2018. It marked the centenary of the premiere, at the same theatre, of the play Abraham Lincoln by the playwright John Drinkwater.


Three-minute trailer for Quilt Song: click here




Susie became a full-time composer seven years ago. Before that she enjoyed a successful solo operatic career as a mezzo soprano for 25 years. Her singing engagments included performing major roles in the opera houses of Lyon, Luxembourg, Salzburg, Lisbon, Strasbourg, Antwerp, Ghent, Santiago (Chile) and Damascus (Syria). Concerts include: Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, Glass’ Peace Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem in Brussels. She also understudied major roles for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and Opera North. In 2002 she sang Katisha in The Mikado for a season at The Savoy Theatre.


"But there are compensations elsewhere, especially Susannah Self’s superb Katisha."

Michael Billington, The Guardian, 2002



4 symphonies, 2 recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic.

Susie’s 6 CDs can be purchased at



Heroic Women: Royal Opera, Garden Venture, 1992

The Boy from Brazil:  Tête-à-Tête Festival, London 2012

The Butt: Musiktheatertage Festival, Vienna 2016

Freedom Bridge: Birmingham Opera Company, 2017



Arts Council: Killing Jar and I Live my Life (films)

Vaughan Williams Trust: (Goddess in the Woods for James Gilchrist)

Gloucester Music Society: Songs of Immortality (song cycle)

Sounds Positive: Parallel Universes and Sheela-na-Gig

Cavendish Chorale: Women’s Boat Songs

Ellipsis: Cosmic Lion Goddess



Oxford University, 2013 - Why Art Matters

Durham University, 2014 - Wagner’s Compositional Response to Death

Cambridge University, 2015 - Presentation of Compositions

Huddersfield University, 2017 - Alternative Models of Commissioning New Opera

ESU, Hove and Arundel, 2016/17 - Rupert Brooke and the Eternal Goddess

Birmingham City University, 2017 - A New Vision for Opera

Birmingham City University, 2018 - Opera is Dead



Susie has written three academic articles for the Journal of the The Friends of the Dymock Poets. Her opera Freedom Bridge features in the Women in Music Journal Volume 22, 2018.  She has just been appointed an assistant teacher in Nottingham University’s composition department, and is a teacher of Musical Awareness at Junior Guildhall. She presents workshops at Skyros and Rancho La Puerta.



Susie conducts The Staithe Singers, North Sea Voices and Orchestra and the Eaton Choral Society, Norwich. Past opera productions she has conducted include: The Turn of The Screw, Albert Herring, Suor Angelica, Cosí fan tutte, Carmen, Gianni Schicchi and The Magic Flute. Her conducting teacher is David Parry.



Susie is married to the Canadian composer/cellist Michael Christie. Together they run Selfmade Music, which has won 5 Arts Council project grants to commission new works. Selfmade Music has been in operation for thirty years and their productions are now supported by running choir and opera courses. To relax they form a duo of voice, cello and guitar called Seawolf & Christie. Susie loves to paint, sail and walk. She rowed in an eight for her college St. Edmunds when at Cambridge.

from 2nd Symphony
Memories, Dreams, Reflections
2nd mvmt, Adagio