Susan Digby (Lady Eatwell) OBE, or Suzi as she is known to her friends, is an internationally renowned conductor, choir master and teacher with a passion to get the nation singing. She has trail-blazed the revival of singing in schools and the community in the UK for over two decades. She was a judge on the BBC TV series ‘Last Choir Standing’, a competition to find Britain’s favourite choir, which attracted 10 million UK fans and many more worldwide. She judges the BBC School Choir of the Year Competition and has presented the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and contributed to programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.
Suzi is the Founder and Principal of the Voices Foundation, the UK’s leading music education charity established in 1993 and which works with schools to deliver sustainable solutions to teaching music at primary level. Over one million children and 60,000 teachers have benefited from the scheme. For many years she has acted as an advisory teacher in disadvantaged and challenging schools UK wide.
She works internationally with children’s and adult choirs, and founded Voce in 2003, widely acknowledged as London’s finest young and vibrant chamber choir, as well as establishing the award-winning choir Coro in 2000. Her Vocal Futures Foundation aims to build the next generation’s classical music audiences (16–22s), and will identify, involve and inspire young people to engage with classical music. Suzi’s most recent venture is the launch of the London Youth Choirs—an exciting new initiative to provide London’s young singers with a world-class choral education and to create a flagship ensemble with a pyramid of five choirs from all 33 boroughs to represent the city of London on a world stage.
Suzi graduated with honours in Musicology from King’s College London where she studied piano, singing, conducting, arts administration and music education pedagogy. Born in Japan, she has lived in Mexico, the Philippines and Hong Kong, where she presented her own TV arts series and was a prolific radio broadcaster, teacher and performer. In 1990 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship, which enabled her to travel to Finland, Hungary, Canada and the USA to study methods of choral training and music pedagogy as practised by their leading exponents.
She is now a Council Member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Trustee of Music in Country Churches and several other music and education charities. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Past-President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and choral adviser for Novello music publishers. She was the Acting Music Director of Queens’ College, University of Cambridge and is now a Professor at the University of Southern California, where she is creating a Masters in Arts Leadership. Suzi is founder and MD of Artsworks, providing leadership and teambuilding for multinational corporates, (including Sainsbury’s, HSBC & BP), with an emphasis on active listening, and confident communication.
Suzi Digby was awarded an OBE in 2007 in recognition of outstanding services to music education.