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Are you looking for a proven dulcimer player who is a gifted teacher? Sue brings her remarkable skillset as a player and teacher to her workshops. Find out if Sue is available for your next event!

Contact Sue

Thank you for visiting Sue Carpenter’s E-Press Kit Information web-page. Included are Sue’s basic biography, workshops that she teaches throughout the United States at various dulcimer and folk music festivals, resume’ information, reviews and news releases, and photos. If you prefer to receive a printed copy, please Contact Sue with your mailing address or call her at 903.883.3037.

If you have questions, also feel free to Contact Sue.

Sue’s Resume

Sue’s Photo

Audience Comments

Your love of music just pours out of you . . . .I can’t begin to tell you how beautiful your playing is.

Everyone enjoyed your concert . . . .We had many people who said they were inspired to play dulcimer after hearing you.

Audience Comments

The flow is everything in your music-everything sings and dances throughout.

Audience Comments

FESTIVALS
  • Autumn Hills Festival, Winsted, CT
  • Buckeye Dulcimer Festival, Ashley, OH
  • Cranberry Dulcimer Gathering, Binghamton, NY
  • Downeast Dulcimer and Harp Festival, Bar Harbor, ME
  • Dulcimer Camp, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY
  • Dulcimer Chautauqua, New Harmony, IN
  • Dulcimer Days Festival, Roscoe Village, Coshocton, OH
  • Dulcimer Daze, Wilmington, VT
  • Dulcimer Retreat, Madisonville, TX
  • Dulcimer Workshop, Boone, NC
  • Flower Carol, Watertown, MA
  • Fort New Salem Dulcimer Weekend, Salem, WV
  • Glen Rose Festival, Glen Rose, TX
  • Great Black Swamp Dulcimer Festival, Lima, OH
  • Heartland Dulcimer Camp, Parkville, MO
  • Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, Kerrville, TX
  • Housatonic Dulcimer Celebration, New Milford, CT
  • Kentucky Music Week, Bardstown, KY
  • Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival, Glen Rose, TX
  • Mid-Winter Dulcimer Festival, Shelby, NC
  • Mountain Dulcimer Music Fest, Albany, NY
  • Mountain Dulcimer Week, Cullowhee, NC
  • NGFDA Fall Festival, Unicoi, Helen, GA
  • Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, Blue Mountain Lake, NY
  • Palestine Old Time Music Festival, Palestine, TX
  • Sam Fest, Houston, TX
  • Saw Dust Festival, Bennington, OK
  • Southeast Texas Dulcimer Festival, Silsbee, TX
  • Summer Solstice Folk Music Festival, Calabasas, CA
  • Swannanoa Gathering, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC
  • Winter Dulcimer Festival, Stroudsburg, PA
  • Winter Festival of Acoustic Music, Irving, TX
COFFEEHOUSES
  • Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Eighth Step Coffee House, Albany, NY
  • Pacific Trader, Chatham, NY
  • Pickin’ Porch, Townsend, TN
COMMUNITY EVENTS
  • Albany Tri-Centennial, Albany, NY
  • Albany Tulip Festival, Albany, NY
  • Cotton Jubilee, Greenville, TX
  • First Night Festival, Albany, NY
LIBRARIES, MUSEUMS
  • Doylestown Public Library, Doylestown, PA
  • Frederick House, Guilderland Center, NY
  • James A. Michener Library, Quakertown, PA
  • Nassau Free Library, Nassau , NY
  • Shaker Museum, Old Chatham, NY
  • Denton Country Historical Museum
RADIO
  • WAMC, Albany, NY
  • WRPI, Troy, NY
  • Webcast with Stephen Seifert

Patterns and Patchwork: Mountain Dulcimer Fingerpicking Made Easy

Patterns and Patchwork: Mountain Dulcimer Fingerpicking Made Easy
Reviewed by Carrie Crompton
Dulcimer Players News
Volume 18, Number 3
July/September 1992

I know a flautist who knits as avidly as she plays music; a guitarist who quilts; a mountain dulcimer player who spins. All will attest that there are connections between the textile arts and music at the levels of patterning and rhythm. I’ve never seen the connections articulated so clearly, though, as in Sue Carpenter’s Patterns and Patchwork.

Sue’s introduction states: “In patchwork quilting, four basic geometric shapes-the square, the rectangle, the triangle, and the parallelogram-are used in various combinations to create an overall design. In a similar way, melody-pattern picking uses four basic picking patterns-the brush, the pinch, alternating fingers, and the roll-in various combinations to create a melodic instrumental arrangement.”

The next 152 pages give step-by-step instruction in these picking patterns, with exercises and musical examples to illustrate each pattern, as well as combinations of patterns. The repertoire is basic: “Shady Grove,” “Shortnin’ Bread,” “Long, Long Ago,” and so forth; but the arrangements are the nicest I’ve ever played and allow the player to concentrate on technique.

I believe this is the most complete instructional manual on right-hand technique for the mountain dulcimer yet published. It is very clear and easy to read with computer-generated notation and tab, and attractively illustrated. Perhaps the most valuable part of the book for me is the way it reveals patterns I normally perceive intuitively (ears and fingers “knowing” things my mind didn’t bother to analyze) in a very clear visual, logical fashion.

This is a finely crafted, useful book, one that is sure to become a standard tutor for dulcimer players. And what a boon for us teachers!

Used with permission:  Dulcimer Players News

Heliotrope Bouquet Review – California Traditional Music Society

Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by Carilyn Vice
California Traditional Music Society
September-December 1994
Volume 11, Number 1

If anyone has ever heard Sue Carpenter perform in person, they know her high energy and enthusiasm is carried through into her playing. The recording, “Heliotrope Bouquet,” is no exception, and offers a nice collection of songs, fast and slow, and oldies, but goodies, along with five original pieces. All recordings are strictly instrumental.

Sue’s arrangements on mountain dulcimer are lovely and not overpowered by accompaniment from other instruments. Her playing is clear and concise and she uses a fine combination of chords along with long runs of individually picked notes. Favorites that have been recorded by many include “Southwind” and “Scarborough Fair” and yet I didn’t find myself saying, “Here goes another recording of this.” “When You Wish Upon a Star” uses outstanding chord patterns and the cello accompaniment is lovely. As far as the recording of “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Ungar, how can this not be a favorite of everyone? It is combined and interwoven with “Dixie.” Sue takes an original artistic approach in recording her songs and she must have had fun recording these. The use of the shaker egg in the background gets your foot tapping in “Summer Decl-Adence” and the opening cat yowls recorded in “Homeless Siamese” convinced me it was a Siamese cat before I read the song title. The ending of the song is clever, but you have to find out for yourself how it ends. The rhythm in “Hallelujah Hoedown” is interesting, and she notes it’s inspiration was from Handel’s famous chorus.

“Heliotrope Bouquet” was most enjoyable, both as background music and also when I sat still long enough to concentrate on each song.

Heliotrope Bouquet Review – Dirty Linen

Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by KD of Dirty Linen
Number 54 – October/November 1994

Sue Carpenter plays the Appalachian dulcimer, and like her contemporaries David Schnaufer and Jan Milner, she’s chosen to stretch the boundaries of music performed on this instrument. The title cut is a Scott Joplin tune, and you will find music by Jay Ungar (“Ashokan Farewell” paired in a medley with “Dixie”) and Stephen Foster (“Oh Susannah”) as well as renditions of “Under the Boardwalk” and Tony Hatch’s 1960’s hit for Petula Clark, “Downtown.” Carpenter also includes several trational tunes and a few of her original pieces, which stand up well in this company-but watch out for the vocals supplied by a Siamese cat on one cut! Fine technique, well presented with an interesting choice of material.

Heliotrope Bouquet Review – Metroland

Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by Hilary Schrauf
Metroland, Albany, NY
September 30-Ocober 6, 1993

Sue Carpenter is no newcomer to the local folk scene. She first picked up a mountain dulcimer in 1981, and has been playin ever since. It’s only fitting that her debut disc (a mere 12 years later), “Heliotrope Bouquet” (Patchwork Productions), presents her sure-fingered playing in the musical company of such local notables as Roy Atkinson, Ian Hunter, Susan Trump, and Anne Bailey, among others. Produced at Arabellum Studios by Carpenter and Atkinson, and engineered by Atkinson and Art Snay, “Heliotrope Bouquet” nicely brings out the expressive vocabulary of Carpenter’s dulcimer.

Her unique style and sense of humor really shine here. Carpenter slows Pete Seeger’s “Living in the Country” to a rambling-river tempo and puts it back-to-back with lazy, beachy “Under the Boardwalk.” She lightens up “Greensleeves” to a less ponderous pace, and even takes a little spin with the classics in “Hallelujah Hoedown,” based on Handel’s ringing chorus.

The disc falters a little on “Summer Deck-Adence,” where Atkinson’s papery bongos sound a little hollow behind full-throttle dulcimer strumming. But the balance quickly returns in “Ruby Throat,” Carpenter’s dancing picture of hummingbirds in mating flight, where his rich guitar line chases her bright dulcimer melody. On traditional folk tune “Southwind” the layered fretwork by Carpenter and Susan Trump are like languid mountain breezes, the dulcimer lines seamless and graceful.

Also notable is the title cut’s sweet/spicy take on Scott Joplin’s rag-jazz with synthesizer trombone courtesy of Ian Hunter, and “When You Wish Upon a Star” for its un-saccharin twist to a normally goopy Disney favorite.

Heliotrope Bouquet Review – Times Union

Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by Greg Haymes
PREVIEW – Times Union
Albany, NY
August 12, 1993

A lot of people think of the dulcimer only as a traditional folk music instrument, but everyone from the American Music club to Joni Mitchell to the rolling Stones have employed the dulcimer’s sweet sound in their music.

Nassau dulcimerist Sue Carpenter has just released a sparkling new album, “Heliotrope Bouquet” on Patchowork Productions, which explores the diversity of the dulcimer repertoire and pushes the envelope along the way.

It’s no surprise to hear her play the traditional “Greensleeves,” Jay Ungar’s Civil War hit “Ashokan Farewell” or even a classic Disney gem like “When You Wish Upon a star.” But I certainly never expected to hear songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown,” the Drifters, “Under the Boardwalk” or Scott Joplin’s ragtime favorite, “Heliotrope Bouquet” played on a dulcimer.

Much to her credit, Carpenter actually makes the songs work, too. Even an old warhorse like Stephen Foster’s “Oh Suzannah” sounds scintillating in a poignant, fingerpicked arrangement that closes the album. And Carpenter’s original songs-most notably “Summer Deck-Adence”-are lilting, melodic compositions.

 

Heliotrope Bouquet Review

Heliotrope Bouquet Review
by Carrie Crompton
Dulcimer Players News
Volume 21, Number 1
January/March 1994

Last but not least, I want to introduce Sue Carpenter’s debut fretted dulcimer recording, “Heliotrope Bouquet” (without book). In terms of recording quality and performance, this is top notch. The sound is full, resonant, larger than life even on solos, and serves as the unifying “concept” of the album. Sue’s plucks are round and golden, her strums breezy and silvery, her brushes white and feathery. I can get into individual notes of this recording as good musical experiences!

The program ranges from Pete Seeger’s “Living in the Country” to “Under the Boardwalk” to Scott Joplin’s “Heliotrope Bouquet” to Jiminy Cricket’s “When You Wish Upon a Star.” In between are some traditional tunes-“Oh, Suzannah,” “Southwind”-and five originals. Sue’s own compositions are very strong and act as bridges between the others. I especially like her “Summer Deck-Adence” and “Homeless Siamese,” a lullaby for a stray cat. Now if Sue were to make a book of these arrangements, advanced mountain dulcimer players would have their work cut out for them.

Used with permission:  Dulcimer Players News

Following the Muse Review

Following the Muse Review
by Neal Walters
Dulcimer Players News
Volume 34, Number 1
Winter 2008

It’s been quite a while since we had a recording from Sue Carpenter but I’m here to tell you the wait was genuinely worth it.  Sue was the 2005 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion and she is renowned for her beautiful, inventive, and often harmonically complex fingerpicking arrangements.  Now she is back with a wonderful new batch of tunes that cannot fail to bring tears to your eyes and a big smile to your face.  Bill Carpenter, Brian Ferguson, Dirje Smith, Rhandy Simmons and Ross Holmes add occasional guitar, percussion, or fretless bass, the odd cello and fiddle, and they get amazing mileage from some old chestnuts and some newer material that I’m betting is going to be moving to the top of your learn list in short order.  Sue plays baritone, standard, and chromatic dulcimers, often adding a harmony part using a capo or a dulcimer with another voice.  Her arrangements are meticulous and always creative and she uses several tunings-all of them with four equidistant strings.  She doesn’t always fingerpick but she is at her introspective best when she does.  There aren’t many dance tunes on here but you’re going to find yourself mesmerized as you listen.  As much as I like snappy old-time tunes and kicking dance music, there’s a part of me that says, “This is the way the dulcimer is supposed to sound.”  I suspect many of you out there will feel that way, too.  It’s plumb beautiful, as one of Sue’s Texas friends might say.  I’m very much inclined to agree.

Used with permission:  Dulcimer Players News