Remembering Susan Clickner

Susan Clickner was a beloved former member of NEC's faculty, teaching classical voice here for more than 30 years and serving as head of the voice department for much of the 1990s.

Susan Clickner

The entire NEC community mourns the recent loss of former faculty member Susan Clickner, who passed away on Thursday, April 1 at age 86. She taught classical voice at NEC for more than 30 years, from 1972–2005, and was head of the voice department for much of the 1990s.

A talented singer since her early years, she received her undergraduate music degree from Indiana University and then received an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. As a student she toured the country, won the Philadelphia Young Artists competition with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and was featured on television as the soloist in several opera premieres. During the early part of her career she also performed as a mezzo soprano soloist throughout Europe, in opera houses and with major symphonies, at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, and much more.

As Clickner's career continued, she became a passionate voice educator. She was a founding faculty member of the Worcester Performing Arts School and was the founder of Clark University's voice department. She was also a fellow at Tanglewood for several years, having performed there many times with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Susan Clickner teaching at NEC

Teaching voice and leading the voice department at NEC, Clickner was a beloved and highly sought-after instructor for countless students from around the world. While teaching at NEC, she was interviewed and featured on a PBS television special. She is listed on the international Who's Who in music, and is also registered on the American Who's Who in Women. She retired at 72 years old and continued corresponding with many of her students up until her death.

Carole Haber, faculty member and the Wendy Shattuck Chair in Voice at NEC, knew Clickner as both a supportive mentor during her student years and, later, as a faculty colleague. She shared:

Oh the stories I could tell you about Susan. It brings tears and puts a smile on my face at the same time.

I first met Susan when I was a young graduate student at NEC. Even though she was not my teacher, she was always supportive, encouraging, and caring about my singing. Five years after getting my Master's at NEC, I was asked to join the voice faculty. There was Susan with that encouraging smile, being as supportive, and caring to me as a young teacher. I learned so much from her. She was a wonderful chair of the voice department with her honesty, and fairness for every teacher.

What I will remember most is her very bright timbre coming through her studio door down the hallway, yelling, "Noooooooooooo." It always made everyone laugh, and to this day, it brings such lovely memories of a wonderful, compassionate, and caring teacher. We all loved Susan.


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