Susanne Ortner

Susanne is a beautiful musician who plays with conviction, great passion, lovely intonation, a good ear, always deeply attuned to everything going on around her (something I REALLY appreciate), and a deep-in-the-pocket groove.
— Guy Klucevsek - accordionist/composer

New Orleans based German clarinetist and saxophonist Susanne Ortner is equally conversant in jazz, klezmer, and classical music.

Clarinet On The Rocks - by Geir Arnesen

Clarinet On The Rocks - by Geir Arnesen

The German Newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine states that she is “a musician par excellence, capable of moving you deeply“. Susanne is a graduate of the University of Augsburg. She previously taught German literature, language and music.

Susanne was the founder of the German Klezmer Quartet “Sing Your Soul“, and collaborates with US klezmer and jazz musicians, mostly in the intimate duo- and trio-format, such as the Ortner/Limberger Duo with Gypsy icon Tcha Limburger on guitar, violin, vocals, the Ortner-Roberts Duo with pianist Tom Roberts, the Ortner/Marcinizyn Duo with guitarist John Marcinizyn, and the Ortner/Strickland Duo with guitarist Mark Strickland.

In addition she has performed in concert with numerous outstanding musicians such as accordionist/pianist Alan Bern, 1. Concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonics Noah Bendix-Balgley, multi-instrumentalist Vince Giordano, drummer Roger Humphries, accordionist Vladimir Mollov, pianist Tom Roberts, trumpeter Charlie Caranicas and others.

Susanne is a serious researcher of Eastern European music, and offers Klezmer Workshops. Following an invitation by the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 she has been accompanying Pittsburgh area Holocaust Survivors at schools and Universities creating the musical framework for their stories. Besides master classes and lectures at the University of Pittsburgh, and Duquesne University, she instructed the klezmer band at the Agency for Jewish Learning, was the interim director of the Carpathian Ensemble at The University of Pittsburgh, and has been coaching the CMU/Hillel klezmer band. She currently holds an adjunct teaching position at Washington & Jefferson College. Susanne is the co-founder of the Three Rivers Klezmer Festival.

Susanne has arranged and composed music for many theatrical productions including “Mazel” by Amy Hartman, ,“Our Class” by Tadeusz Slobozianek, and "Die Weihnachtsgeschichte" by The Augsburger Puppenkiste . She appears on several CDs, including “A Trip To America” and “Hot World Chamber Music” (Ortner-Roberts Duo), “A Tribute to Teenie Harris” (Manchester Craftsmen’s Guilde), “Khosn Kale Mazl-Tov” (Sing Your Soul), "Die Musik aus der Weihnachtsgeschichte" (Susanne Ortner quartet) and has done book and film projects.

She is the subject of the  book “Living the Dream” – Für die Musik nach Amerika” (Wissner Verlag Augsburg, 2011), written by German Television journalist Helge Fuhst.

She currently resides in New Orleans, USA.


„Susanne Ortner […] enchanted with her almost unbelievable witchcraft on the clarinet“ Aichacher Nachrichten

„Susanne Ortner […] seems to be capable of everything (…) Warm, soft tones if necessary, rapid, speedy passages and in addition to this the challenging embellishments, typical for klezmer music, all at breakneck speed and with an almost unbelievable ease.“ Donau Zeitung.