Suzanne Ciani is an early pioneer of electronic music in the United States. She earned a master's degree in composition at the University of California at Berkeley and collaborated with Stanford University's John Chowning and Max Matthews, two of the founders of electronic music. In the early 1970s, she began working with synthesizer designer Don Buchla, and her knowledge and passion for the Buchla synthesizer led to a very successful career as a synthesizer player and commercial sound designer. Throughout the '70s, her work led to the creation of iconic sounds for commercials and video games.
In 1981, Ciani became the first woman to score a major full-length Hollywood release, Lily Tomlin’s The Incredible Shrinking Woman. The following year, she began a career as a solo artist, producing instrumental music that combined electronic and acoustic instruments, picking up five Grammy nominations and numerous industry awards. Over the last two years, her career has come full circle with a return to her electronic roots, performing solo modular synthesizer concerts. She was a featured artist at Moogfest 2016, and a documentary film of her career is currently in production.
Ciani was appointed an Ambassador of Artistry in Education at Berklee for the 2016–2017 academic year. The Ambassador of Artistry in Education program brings the highest caliber musicians and artists from around the world to work with students and faculty directly. Creating interdisciplinary projects that result in new works, the ambassador models the musician/artist as a multitalented, multigenre professional. The ambassador also serves as a liaison between the college and the larger art and music worlds, connecting students and faculty with artists beyond Berklee’s current borders.