One of the world’s premiere exponents of her instrument, Susan Alcorn has taken the pedal steel guitar far beyond its traditional role in country music. Having first paid her dues in Texas country & western bands, she began to expand the vocabulary of her instrument through her study of 20th century classical music, visionary jazz, and world musics.
Though known as for her solo work, she has collaborated with numerous artists including Pauline Oliveros, Chris Cutler, the London Improvisors Orchestra, the Glasgow Improvisors Orchestra, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, Ingrid Laubrock and Leila Bourdreuil, George Burtm Evan Parker, Michael Formanek, Zane Campbell, and Mary Halvorson among others.
In 2016, she was voted Best Other Instrument by the International Critics Poll. In 2017 she received the Baker Artist Award, and in 2018, along with saxophonist Joe McPhee, she was the recipient of the Instant Award in Improvised Music.
The UK Guardian writes, “As an improvisor and composer, Alcorn has proven to be visionary. Her pieces reveal the complexity of her instrument and her musical experience while never straying from a very direct, intense, and personal musical expression.”