Dr. Susan McMane has centered her career on showing the world the power and beauty of young women’s voices. In 2012, she became the founding director of the Young Women’s Choral Projects of San Francisco, where she conducts the auditioned, premiere chorus of young women in grades 7-12 and oversees the YWCP training program for younger girls. She encourages her singers to reach for excellence in music and life, and she has taken her choirs to important venues including the steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC for the first inauguration ceremony of President Barack Obama in 2009, and to numerous world stages.
Dr. McMane has won many honors including three GRAMMY® Awards with the San Francisco Symphony, and the 2007 “Symphony of Excellence Arts Award” from the Pacific Musical Society. In addition, she won honors at the International Eisteddfod competition in Llangollen, Wales in 1998, and that same year was also named the “Music Educator of the Year” by the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. In 2014, her work earned her recognition as an “outstanding community youth choir director” from The American Prize, and in 2017 she was awarded the CEDAW Women’s Human Rights Award for Girls Empowerment and Education.
Because of her advocacy for new music, Dr. McMane’s choruses won the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming three times in 2004, 2011 and 2017. Dr. McMane is responsible for commissioning over 26 new works for young women’s voices from prominent composers. She has prepared her choirs for performances with many leading symphonic conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Helmut Rilling, Nicholas McGegan, and Kurt Masur. In addition, she personally has conducted ensembles on tour in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, England, Canada, Wales, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Japan, South Korea, and China. In 2011, she was invited to bring her chorus to Cuba, on a cultural exchange mission granted by the U.S. and Cuban governments.
Many high-level musicians and critics have commented on Dr. McMane’s talents. "Susan McMane is one of the finest conductors of choral music I have encountered anywhere. With her at the podium one may always expect excellent music performed at the highest level. And she accomplishes this in a way that makes her beloved to her singers and raises their awareness as musicians and human beings." (Kirke Mechem, composer) “Her skill as a musical director is most impressive. Her warm relationship with the girls, her musical standards, and her conducting technique are all of the highest order. Her work is not only a gift to the Bay Area; it is a gift to the entire musical world.” (Robert Moore, critic for American Record Guide)