Susanne Olbrich was born and raised in Germany. At the age of six she discovered her love for the piano and began her classical training. She went on to study music at Oldenburg University (Germany), known for its innovative music department. Besides her classical studies she explored contemporary music in its many expressions – jazz, pop, world music, experimental and improvised music. Susanne completed her studies with a Masters degree.
Since the early 90s Susanne has been following a career as independent music professional, dividing her time between performing and teaching.
As a pianist and composer, Susanne’s work embraces classical, jazz, folk and world music, as well as an interest in experiment. With her band Marama Trio she has recorded the album Continuations. Current projects include collaborations with LandArt photographer Dietmar Voorwold and Celtic singer-songwriter Iona Leigh.
As an educator, Susanne offers piano tuition as well as music courses and workshops. She enjoys encouraging creative expression and deep listening in people of all ages and with a variety of backgrounds, ranging from beginners to professionals. Susanne’s special interest lies in improvised music and Deep Listening as taught by composer/improviser Pauline Oliveros.
In 2001, Susanne settled in Findhorn/North of Scotland, home of the renowned eco-village and spiritual community. She now offers her work in Scotland and Germany and has collaborated with music schools, the NHS, adult education providers and community groups. Recent projects include ‘Sustainability Education and Carbon Reduction in Moray Schools’, as part of which Susanne brought creative music-making in nature to primary school children.
Susanne is an experienced Mindfulness teacher who has been engaged in Mindfulness practice and study for over twenty years. In 1996 she met Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh while visiting Plum Village, his Practice Centre in France. His teachings on mindful living inspired Susanne to make Mindfulness practice part of her daily life, a nourishing, sustaining and transformative experience to this day. She now is committed to sharing the benefits of the practice with others through courses, retreats and one-to-one sessions.
Susanne completed numerous Mindfulness retreats and programmes, including a teacher training in Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with Bangor University, and is also qualified to teach the Mindfulness-based Living Course (MBLC) by the Mindfulness Assocoation. Currently Susanne is writing her Masters thesis for the MSc “Postgraduate Studies in Mindfulness” with Aberdeen University on the topic of “Mindfulness for Musicians”.
Combining her experience from Mindfulness and music in Sounds & Silence retreats, Susanne teaches meditation and intuitive music-making as mutually supportive experience. In 2012 Susanne co-founded the Mindful Artists Network as a resource for artists of all art forms, arts educators and arts therapists. The network offers events in Germany and the UK and has members from many different countries.
In 2016 Susanne received the teaching transmission at Plum Village and is now one of ten Dharma teachers in Thich Nhat Hanh’s lineage in the UK. She offers regular retreats and Days of Mindfulness within the Community of Interbeing. Susanne has co-founded the Northern Lights Sangha, a Mindfulness practice group which meets at Findhorn and serves people from across the North of Scotland.