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Suzanne J. Balderston

1928 - 2010, Sun City West, AZ

Suzanne J. Balderston, 81, of Sun City West, Arizona, passed away on Tuesday, January 26th after a brief illness.

A well known and respected harpist and music educator, Balderston began her musical training in her native Long Island, New York and attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1949. She played under the baton of such notable conductors as Arturo Toscanini of the NBC Symphony in New York, and held teaching posts at University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, University of California Santa Barbara, California State University Northridge, and Pepperdine University. A long-time resident of Santa Barbara, Balderston served for many years as harpist with the Santa Barbara Symphony and on the faculty of the Music Academy of the West. She was a past president of the American Harp Society, and also served as president of the International Harp Corporation for 10 years.

In her retirement years Balderston remained very active, maintaining a teaching studio and enjoying a part-time career as a free-lance harpist in California, Nevada and Arizona. She authored numerous books for harpists including pedagogy, student materials and arrangements of hymns and popular songs.

Balderston is survived by her brother George W. Johnstone of Oak Harbor, NC; her ex-husband and good friend Mahlon E. Balderston, Jr. of Santa Barbara; her sons Mahlon III “Lonny” (Lauretta) of Thousand Oaks; John (Kimberly) of Fort Worth, TX; and Stephen (Megan) of Clarendon Hills, IL; as well as six grandchildren: Lauren, Andrew, Michael, Katie, Celia and James.

No funeral will be held. A memorial concert and tribute to her life is planned later this year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Harp Society Foundation.

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