Suhnne Ahn

By Brian Potter on April 23, 2013.

Suhnne Ahn joined the musicology faculty at Peabody Conservatory in 1997 after completing her Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University. Her dissertation, “Genre Style, and Compositional Procedure in Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, Opus 47,” was written under the direction of Lewis Lockwood and examines Beethoven’s creative process in composing this masterpiece as well the hybridization of concerto and sonata genre influences contained within. Her research interests include Beethoven sketch studies, 19th-century chamber music, and the early formation of the Paris Conservatory. Ahn’s work has been published in The Beethoven Violin Sonatas: History, Criticism, Performance by University of Illinois Press. Most recently, her scholarly endeavors are directed toward the ongoing development of a web-based “e-edition” of the violin concerti of the triumvirate of Parisian virtuosi Rodolphe Kreutzer, Pierre Rode, and Pierre Baillot.

Ahn came to the study of musicology through her early activities as a performer. She received her B.A. in music from Yale College. While turning toward musicology, she studied piano as an undergraduate at the Yale School of Music and attended the Aspen Music Festival. Influential piano teachers include Charlotte Martin, Arlene Portney, Ward Davenny, and Herbert Stessin. Ensemble experiences as a violinist in numerous youth orchestras in Oklahoma were also significant. Her familiarity with both the piano and string repertoire steered her toward and informs her scholarly work on Beethoven’s chamber music. Her awards include the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) for study in Berlin, the Oscar Straus Schafer Teaching Fellowship recognizing devotion to undergraduate teaching at Harvard, the Paine Traveling Fellowship for research in Bonn, and Peabody Faculty Development grants that have facilitated research pursuits in Krakow and Paris.

In addition to teaching courses in her area of expertise, Ahn has offered a variety of seminars with topics ranging from sixteenth century English polyphony to the chamber music of Brahms to twentieth century opera. Her classes on Russian music history and the history of the Requiem were tributes honoring Baltimore’s homage to sister city St. Petersburg and the anniversary of 9/11 respectively. A recent seminar on the Paris Conservatory provides an opportunity for musicians from all disciplines to examine early pedagogical issues associated with their own instruments or voice type.

Outside the Conservatory, Ahn served as the Director of Student Affairs at Peabody Preparatory from 1997 until 2002. She is currently House Dean of Harnwell College House, a 24-story high rise with 800+ students, at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Beyond her administrative duties there, she has taught several courses in the critical writing program with an emphasis on cinema studies. Most recently, she created a freshman seminar examining the films of Katharine Hepburn. Ahn has held memberships in the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts (now NGCAE), American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Renovations in Music Education (RIME). She currently serves on the board of the Yale Friends of Music and has been a long-standing member of the American Musicological Society (AMS).