Composer Spotlight – Suzanne Ciani

Suzanne in front of the keyboard in her studio.

Composer Name: Suzanne Ciani

Birth/Death: June 4, 1946 – Present

Suzanne Ciani stands in front of her analog synthesizer for picture.

Best Known Compositions:

Ciani scored several films, including The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), and has also released 15 studio albums.

Musical Influences & Inspiration:
  • German photographer, Ilse Bing
  • Her explorations and travels
  • Classical composers, including Sergei Rachmaninoff and Johannes Brahms
Music Genre & Instrument Specialty
  • Suzanne is a diverse artist and composer
  • Piano
  • Analog synthesizers/keyboards

Suzanne Ciani working at her studio.

Career Highlights:

A classically trained pianist, Ciani was also a pioneer in designing sound effects and electronic music. Ciani crafted many sounds that we’ve all heard, like the original Coca-Cola bottle “pop” and “pour.” She won numerous awards for her innovative compositions, including five Grammy nominations, and in 2017, she was the first woman to win Moog’s Innovation Award.

Interesting Facts:

While studying for her Master’s degree in composition at Berkeley (CA), she met Don Buchla, one of the earliest synthesizer inventors. She fell in love with the worlds of sound that Buchla and Moog synthesizers could create, and ended up working at the Buchla factory.  After that, she traveled with her new instrument and ended up composing and creating landmark sound effects for companies like Coca-Cola, AT&T, and General Electric.