Dr. Armenio Suzano was born in Brazil and at the age of 16 won a competition to become the youngest member ever of the renowned Rio de Janeiro Opera House Symphony Orchestra (Orquestra do Teatro Municipal). He served as their assistant principal clarinetist for nine years. Upon moving to the United States, Suzano engaged in multicultural ecclesiastical work – particularly within Portuguese-speaking communities in Massachusetts and Spanish-speaking communities in Texas.
Dr. Suzano’s accomplishments include the Outstanding Music Graduate Award as well as the President’s Award for Outstanding Performer of the Year from Stephen F. Austin State University (TX) and the 1st prize at the Sul-America International Competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. An avid soccer player and accomplished clarinetist and saxophonist, Suzano has performed with the Northwestern University and The University of Michigan Symphony Orchestras, South Bend Symphony (IL) and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra (MI). In 1983-84 he was the guest soloist with the Amazonas Brasilienischemusik Jazz Ensemble in Berlin, Germany. Recent performances include the Frank Ticheli Clarinet Concerto with the Stephen F. Austin State University Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Frank Ticheli and an All-Brazilian Music Recital program at various colleges in the Northeast.
Suzano is a winner of the Solo and Aria Competition at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and the Concerto Competition at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI), where he was also a Humanities Fellow between 1998 and 2000. He holds degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University (B.M.), Northwestern University (M.M.) and The University of Michigan (D.M.A.). Dr. Suzano studied under professors Russell Dagon, Frederick Hemke, and Mallory Thompson (Northwestern University) as well as Fred Ormand, Donald Sinta, and Kenneth Keisler (The University of Michigan).
In 2018 Suzano co-founded the Acclaim Duo with pianist William John Newbrough and together they have performed at colleges, public schools, churches and community events presenting an eclectic program of Classical, Christian and Latin Jazz music. Along with Newbrough and cellist Rintaro Wada, Suzano is also a founding member of the Felix Ensemble, a touring group dedicated to promoting the chamber repertoire for Cello, Clarinet and Piano.
Before joining the faculty at Houghton College, Suzano served as director of the Liberty University Symphony Orchestra, director of bands at Brewton-Parker College, professor of music at Indiana Wesleyan University, and as graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.