Artistic Director emeritus
Susan graduated cum laude from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music in 1975. She credits Dr. Flora Contino and Leonard Bernstein as her principal inspirations for her educational philosophy.
She has exercised this philosophy in all of her musical endeavors. One of the first educational opportunities she encountered was conducting three high schools’ orchestras in the greater Chicago area. In her time there, she was also a driving force behind the development of string music programs in the high schools’ 12 elementary feeder schools. Now, the schools are among the strongest in Illinois.
After her work in Illinois, Susan moved to Indiana, where she co-founded the Carmel-Clay school corporation’s orchestra program. She directed the orchestra and vocal ensembles at Carmel High School until 1982, when she retired from public school teaching to jumpstart her own youth orchestra.
It has always been her dream to establish her own school for the performing arts, which would provide a high-caliber experience for young musicians. Her work creating, expanding and shaping the New World Youth Orchestras in central Indiana has brought her close to accomplishing her dream.
Susan has won the Sagamore of the Wabash by governor Joseph Kernan in 2004 and Distinguished Hoosier by governor Mitch Daniels in 2007 for her lifelong work with New World Youth Orchestras. In May 2015, Susan Kitterman stepped down as Artistic Director of the New World Youth Orchestras after having served in that position for 33 years.