Meet Dr. Susan Matthews
Dr. Matthews has been Director of Music at St. Paul’s since 2005 where she serves as organist and director of the choirs, including founding director of the Choir School and the Evensong series (2007). She grew up in Pennsylvania, graduated from Haverford College as a chemistry major, and attended two years of medical school during which time she found a home in the Episcopal church while searching for a place to practice organ. This began a journey to a completely different doctorate, to concertizing in amazing sacred places around the world, and to her vocation as a church musician in the Episcopal Church where music is an integral part of the liturgy.
Susan’s favorite hymn is “King of glory, King of peace” - a hymn by the Anglican priest George Herbert that seems especially written for her: “Wherefore with my utmost art, I will sing thee; and the cream of all my heart, I will bring thee.” Each week, Dr. Matthews shares her deep knowledge and passion for the sacred music of our liturgies through insightful music notes included in the worship bulletin. In July 2017, she led the Choir of St. Paul’s (ages 10 to 80) in a week-long residency at Gloucester Cathedral (1089), England where they were immersed in the daily rhythm of leading Evensong (sung Evening Prayer), a uniquely Anglican service that has been offered there for nearly 1,000 years.
What do you like most about coming to church?
To seek glimpses of God’s beauty by helping others offer their very best in music to the glory of God.
Do you have a favorite quote from an anthem?
Without arms or charm of culture,
Persons of no importance
From an unimportant Province,
They did as the Spirit bid,
Went forth into a joyless world
Of swords and rhetoric
To bring it joy.
~ Poetry of W. H. Auden set in The Twelve by William Walton
How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy long walks with a camera in hand, playing piano, Scrabble variations, and tennis.
B.A. – Chemistry, Haverford College
M.M. – Organ Performance & Literature, Eastman School of Music
D.M.A. - Organ Performance & Literature, Eastman School of Music
Susan's favorite quotes:
A man knows when he has found his vocation when he stops thinking about how to live and begins to live. ~Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
~J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets