Susan Bettaney was born in Manchester and began piano lessons at the age of four and soon become involved in the musical life of Stockport, winning music festivals with much appraise from the then adjudicating circus for Sir David Wilcocks, Michael Head, Dora Gilson, David Franklin and Gordon Jacob to name but a few. She gained valuable experience as a soloist and accompanist with the Maia Choirs Scheme, and performed Mozart’s Coronation Concerto, at the age of 12, under the baton of the late Paul Ward.
At the age of 16, Susan won a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music where she studied piano with Derek Wyndham, accompaniment with Clifton Helliwell, and voice with Caroline Crawshaw and, later, Isobell Bailey. Susan was a founder member of the William Byrd Singers with Stephen Wilkinson, she gave concerts in major venues throughout Britain and toured Poland. She was also a former member of the BBC Northern Singers.As a student, Susan gained valuable experience as the Musical Director for two ten-week summer season shows and a Christmas pantomime season at Billingham Civic Theatre, and as the MD for the ‘Thanks for the Memory’ show at Scarborough Opera House where she played for stars such as Leslie Welsh, Jack Seaton and the Broadway star Adelaide Hall in 1975. She also appeared as Guest Pianist for the Max Jaffa Orchestra at Scarborough and had a short spell as repetateur for the Doyle Carte Opera Company and Yorkshire Opera.
Susan joined the staff at Chetham’s in 1969 when it became a specialist music school and became a full-time tutor in 1975 with extra responsibility to develop and promote concert opportunities for the Junior School. As a highly experienced and committed teacher, her successes have been many at home and abroad and has played an important part in Chetham’s development. She also has experience as an adjudicator and has given numerous masterclasses. Susan combines teaching with solo and duo recitals with her musical contemporary Joan Greenburgh forming ‘Quattromani’. Susan and Joan bring their combined talents to the duo repertoire and have brought musical pleasure to all ages in recitals in Britain and abroad.Susan has recently been elected to EPTA UK (European Piano Teachers Association) management and will continue the work of EPTA Young Artists to raise the standards and create opportunites throughout Britain and across the globe.
As the secretary of the Friends of Chetham’s, Susan continues the work of bringing together past pupils, teachers and friends, and organising concerts, fundraising events and sponsorship.