Suhnne Ahn joined the musicology faculty at Peabody Conservatory in 1997 after completing her Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University. Her dissertation, “Genre Style, and Compositional Procedure in Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, Opus 47,” was written under the direction of Lewis Lockwood and examines Beethoven’s creative process in composing this masterpiece as well the hybridization of concerto and sonata genre influences contained within. Her research interests include Beethoven sketch studies, 19th-century chamber music, and the early formation of the Paris Conservatory. Ahn’s work has been published in The Beethoven Violin Sonatas: History, Criticism, Performance by University of Illinois Press. Most recently, her scholarly endeavors are directed toward the ongoing development of a web-based “e-edition” of the violin concerti of the triumvirate of Parisian virtuosi Rodolphe Kreutzer, Pierre Rode, and Pierre Baillot.
Ahn came to the study of musicology through her early activities as a performer. She received her B.A. in music from Yale College. While turning toward musicology, she studied piano as an undergraduate at the Yale School of Music and attended the Aspen Music Festival. Influential piano teachers include Charlotte Martin, Arlene Portney, Ward Davenny, and Herbert Stessin. Ensemble experiences as a violinist in numerous youth orchestras in Oklahoma were also significant. Her familiarity with both the piano and string repertoire steered her toward and informs her scholarly work on Beethoven’s chamber music. Her awards include the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) for study in Berlin, the Oscar Straus Schafer Teaching Fellowship recognizing devotion to undergraduate teaching at Harvard, the Paine Traveling Fellowship for research in Bonn, and Peabody Faculty Development grants that have facilitated research pursuits in Krakow and Paris.
In addition to teaching courses in her area of expertise, Ahn has offered a variety of seminars with topics ranging from sixteenth century English polyphony to the chamber music of Brahms to twentieth century opera. Her classes on Russian music history and the history of the Requiem were tributes honoring Baltimore’s homage to sister city St. Petersburg and the anniversary of 9/11 respectively. A recent seminar on the Paris Conservatory provides an opportunity for musicians from all disciplines to examine early pedagogical issues associated with their own instruments or voice type.
Outside the Conservatory, Ahn served as the Director of Student Affairs at Peabody Preparatory from 1997 until 2002. From 2002 to 2014, she was the House Dean of Harnwell College House at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also taught several courses in the critical writing program with an emphasis on cinema studies, and from 2015 to 2016, she served as Dean of Residential Life and Student Activities at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. Most recently, Ahn has taught within Peabody’s liberal arts curriculum offering undergraduate cinema courses on the American actress Katharine Hepburn and East Asian and Asian-American representation in film. In Fall 2018, Ahn assumed the position of Director of the Peabody at Homewood program, the music minor curriculum within the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. She currently serves on the committee of the Yale Friends of Music, is a board member of the Jonathan Edwards Trust at Yale, and has been a long-standing member of the American Musicological Society (AMS).