Susanne Abigail Barkan, age 52, passed away at home in Shelburne on Saturday, September 10th, 2011, after a long struggle with cancer.

Susanne graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. in 1981. She studied traditional ballads and songs in Scotland, as well as vocal improvisation with Bobby McFerrin at Omega Institute. In coffeehouses and festivals of Western Mass., she was a popular folk singer, eventually leading workshops in vocal improvisation. In recent years, she taught music at the Heath Elementary School, the Colrain Central School, and the Academy at Charlemont.

Susanne was born in Ithaca, New York to Alfred and Rhoda Barkan, and was the youngest of three children. She was preceded in death by her mother, and is survived by her husband, Craig D. Miller, their son Benjamin, of Shelburne, MA., as well as her father Alfred, her siblings Amy and Jonathan, and two nieces and nephews.

A memorial gathering was held at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center on October 9th, 2011 at 11 a.m.

Memorial gifts in Susanne's honor may be made to Hospice of Franklin County, Complimentary Cancer Care at Baystate/Franklin Medical Center, Cancer Connection or Forest Moon.

See also some Pictures and Words from the Memorial Gathering.

Susanne in 2011

Older Bio from the 2000's...

Susanne Barkan sings traditional and contemporary folk songs, old Scottish ballads, doo-wop, radio jingles, Bach Cantatas, vocal percussion and whatever else the moment calls for. She plays guitar, piano, flute and is learning to play hand drums. She began leading vocal improvisation workshops in 1997. Responding to her students' inquiries about her own musical background, we've prepared this bio.

Susanne Barkan was born in 1959, lived in Brooklyn, then Long Island.



While attending Hampshire College in Amherst, MA,

Susanne developed a large following,
"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery."
Francis Bacon
In 1988 Susanne was in Bobby McFerrin's workshop at Omega Institute.
Click here for an interview  "Singing? Don't Worry, Be Happy!"

In 1992, collaborations with her fellow workshop members,

In 1997 Susanne taught her first session of Toast & Jam