Susan Babini was appointed Principal Cello of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in 2012. She has been recognized for her “gorgeous sound and liquid sense of phrasing” (Philadelphia Enquirer), her “achingly beautiful” playing (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and “gorgeous, dark sound” (Milwaukee Shepherd Express). Prior to Milwaukee, Susan was Principal Cello with New Century Chamber Orchestra and has performed as Guest Principal Cello with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Babini is engaged regularly as a featured soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, most recently performing the Elgar Cello Concerto in 2022 with Edo DeWaart. Susan has also performed as soloist with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, New Century Chamber Orchestra, and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra. An Astral Artist alum, she has been presented in solo recital by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Susan gave the East Coast premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis's Colored Field for Cello and Orchestra with Symphony in C and is also featured on Kernis' album On Distant Shores.
A passionate chamber musician, Babini has performed as guest cellist with the Cavani String Quartet. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival and subsequently toured with “Musicians from Marlboro”. She has also appeared in recital with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg at the Aspen Music Festival. Additionally, she participated in the Tanglewood and Yellow Barn Music Festivals. In Milwaukee, she has performed on the Frankly Music series, with the Philomusica String Quartet and with Milwaukee Musaik.
As an educator, Susan enjoys working with young students and has spent the last two summers teaching and performing at the Brevard Music Center. In the past she taught orchestral repertoire at Northwestern University, as well as coaching for the National Youth Orchestra. A participant in the chamber music residency at the Cleveland Institute of Music, she taught and performed with the Cavani String Quartet. Currently Babini is a faculty member for the Advanced Chamber Music program at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and frequently leads cello masterclasses at home and abroad.
The daughter of two cellists, Susan began her musical studies at the age of three. Babini holds a Graduate Diploma from The Juilliard School, as well as Bachelor and Master of Chamber Music degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. When she’s not playing the cello, Susan can be found either in her garden with her husband and dog or in her kitchen trying to master the art of sourdough bread with the help of her two cats.