Susanna Eastburn took up the role of Chief Executive of Sound and Music, Britain’s national development agency for composers and new music, in September 2012. This is the latest senior appointment in a varied career that has included being Director, Music at Arts Council England from 2008-2012 and Executive Director of LIFT – London International Festival of Theatre between 2005-2008. Her background and particular interest is in new music and in supporting composers at different times in their career. At the age of 32 she was appointed as Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (following the retirement of its founder Richard Steinitz) a role she fulfilled between 2000-2004, when she was selected to be a Youth Music Fellow on the inaugural year of the Clore Leadership Programme, an initiative to identify and develop leadership in the cultural sector.
Her first proper job was in music publishing, working as International Promotions Manager for Chester Music/Novello & Co Ltd with responsibility for the work of (amongst others) Kaija Saariaho, Judith Weir, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Simon Holt. Non-executive roles have included being a member of the Yorkshire Regional Arts Council (2002-2005), a Governor of Leeds College of Music (2002-2006) and Chair of spnm (the Society for the Promotion of New Music) from 2003-2008. She was also on the executive board of the Réseau Varèse, a pan-European network of new music promoters (2002-2005). She is a keen chamber musician and plays the viola.