Written By Lucía Vázquez.
Suzanne Ciani (1946) is an Italo-American pianist, a composer and a pioneer in the use of electronic devices in music.
Ciani, a professionally trained pianist, always loved music from a very young age. When she was a student at Welleslley College she became interested in how technology could improve the quality of sound and create new and different sounds.
After obtaining her MA in Music Composition at the University of California, she became very interested in sound engineering and, after meeting the synthesizer designer Don Buchla, she studied computer generated music.
Tired of listening to the same tunes over and over again, she decided to experiment with a synthesizer (prophet synthesizer) and an arrangement of voice gear which she called “the voice box”. She achieved new sounds for voice recording or composing soundtracks for movies or commercials by trying new melodies, mixing up sounds and notes.
Once she founded her own company in 1974 (Ciani/Musica) she became one of the most demanded composers for television adverts. She worked for big companies such as Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, AT&T and General Electric. Ciani is an expert on sound effects and she is very famous for some of her most iconic sounds, for example, the sound made by the opening of a Coca-Cola bottle.
She was one of the few women working in sound design in the late 60’s and 70’s and she became very popular due to her outstanding talent. Her funny and cheeky personality was shown during an interview with David Letterman, showing him how the sound machines work in one of Letterman’s shows, now available on YouTube.
She has recorded several music albums, both solos and accompanied by other artists. She has won several accolades including the American Federation of Independent Music Award in 2006, the Most Valuable Synthesizer Player Award in 1987, the Bronze Lion Award for Excellence in Advertising in 1985.
Now is the time to rediscover the life of this talented and fascinating woman, because a documentary about her life called “A life in waves” was released last summer.
You can find more information about this documentary on, http://www.alifeinwaves.com