Susan Tilbury


Susan Tilbury is a mom, retired opera singer, music therapist and life-long learner, currently pursuing a PhD in Ecological Psychology.  Her focus is on the dynamic relationship between body-brain and environment, or the complex response of very many levels of rhythmic interactions within and across the networks in the body to continuously changing environmental information, particularly music.

Current projects are focused on: a thermodynamic perspective on human resilience & clinical interventions to improve or restore it;  an embodied dynamical model of groove and the pleasurable urge to move to music (PLUM); ecstatic experience in music and ritual (with co-advisor, Dimitris Xygalatas); network physiological dynamics in perception-action cycles from an ecological perspective.

When not obsessing over rhythm & resonance, Susan tends to obsess over writing original music, perfecting kombucha brewing techniques, cooking for & hosting her fellow graduate students, and talking about her kids (adult daughter, Neve & 20-lb schipperke mix, Steve French) to anyone who will listen.

She previously studied at the Eastman School of Music, University of Louisville, University of Missouri–Kansas City, and University of Kansas. Voice teachers of note include Beverley Peck Johnson, W. Stephen Smith, Thomas Paul & Edith Davis Tidwell. Performances of note included: The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Opera, and many symphony, chamber music & recital engagements. She’s a devotee of musics from all genres and cultures and finds the most joy these days in making music as an avocation, usually loud or weird… always fun!



Contact Information
Research Interests
  • Dynamical Systems
  • Resilience
  • Music Intervention
  • Network Physiology
  • Groove
  • Ecstatic Experience
  • Rhythm
  • Dissipative Structures