Principal Conductor - Suzanne Barner Kitchen


Suzanne Kitchen photo web

A native of Columbia, Missouri, Suzanne Barner Kitchen began her study of music at the age of six when her parents enrolled her in piano lessons.  Thus began a musical journey that has continued throughout her life.  Suzanne holds a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri, where she worked extensively with renowned conductor David C. Rayl.  She also holds degrees in Piano Performance from the University of Texas (MM) and the University of Missouri (BM).


Suzanne is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including past winner of the MMTA Collegiate Honors Piano Competition and semi-finalist at the Young Keyboard Artists International Piano Competition.  She has appeared as soloist with the University Philharmonic at MU and is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.  She enjoys composing music, and her choral arrangement of “Oh, What Songs of the Heart” was selected for an Award of Honor and performance in the worldwide Relief Society Music Festival of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2008.


Suzanne was the founding director of One Voice, an auditioned choir associated with the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Missouri campus.  She has conducted MU’s Chamber Singers, the Missouri Symphony Festival Chorus, large regional church choirs and small local congregational choirs.  For many years, she owned a private piano and vocal studio, from which her students consistently earned top ratings in auditions and festivals.  One of her students is a two-time winner of MU’s Creating Original Music Project (COMP) composition contest.  She has served as adjudicator for the National Federation of Music Clubs, and has collaborated with many singers, instrumentalists, and choirs as an accompanist.  She currently plays the organ and conducts two choirs for her church.


Suzanne is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and past member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers.  She and her husband, Newell, have three daughters, all accomplished musicians in their own right.  When she’s not making music, you might find her reading a book, working a jigsaw puzzle, or enjoying her family.


Associate Conductors:

                 Jeanie McGowan
                 Patricia Tavenner

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