Suzanne Teng, M. Mus. is a flutist, recording artist, composer, and teacher originally from Berkeley, California. She received her master’s degree in music from Boston University’s School for the Arts and after traveling adventures across the globe, furthered her graduate studies at UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology where she completed the coursework for the Ph.D. focusing on music and healing. She is currently based in Los Angeles where she performs with her band Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey, records for soundtracks and sound recordings and presents music workshops. In performance and on recordings, Suzanne plays C flute, alto, bass and contrabass flutes, piccolo, Dizi (China), Turkish ney and zurna, Indian bansuri, Indonesian Suling, panpipes, recorders, pennywhistles, the Native American flute, ocarinas, flutes from Africa and Eastern Europe and double reed instruments from Egypt as well as percussion and voice.
She is winner of the 2006 International Acoustic Music Awards (Instrumental Division) and the 2005 and 2001 Independent Music Awards (Best New Age Artist), was a finalist for the 2005 Independent Music Awards (Best World Music Artist), the only artist to be nominated in two categories, and her contemporary world music band Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey has appeared on Music Connection Magazine’s HOT 100 several years in a row.
Her critically acclaimed albums have received nominations for the 2006 Just Plain Folks Awards/Best Asian Song, 2004 Just Plain Folks Awards/Best Instrumental Album, New Age Voice Magazine’s Best Acoustic Instrumental Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album and a candidacy for a Grammy nomination for Best New Age album. Her albums rank among the UK Top Albums in New Age, appear on numerous publication and radio “Top albums of the Year” lists including the Public Radio International nationally syndicated show “Echoes,” and are listed by Amazon.com among the Most Requested New Age albums on the Radio. Billboard Magazine selected her recording “Mystic Journey” as a Critic’s Choice and wrote ” Highly recommended…impressive solo debut.”
Known for creating heartfelt and healing music, Al Martinez of the Los Angeles Times claims “Suzanne Teng plays music for the soul.” She has been commissioned to compose music for yoga and acupuncture videos, including works for well-known yogis Gurmukh and Ana Forrest. The Los Angeles Times wrote that Suzanne's music for the critically acclaimed play Caterpillar Soup "adds a spiritual quality to the production." She performs in concerts, festivals, and dance/movement/yoga events internationally as a soloist and with Mystic Journey. They were featured performers at His Holiness the Dala Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music and have represented the United States at International festivals in Mexico, Canada and Singapore. Suzanne has performed her flute meditations at numerous major events with spiritual leaders and writers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Mathew Whyte, and Amachi, as well as for the top corporate leaders of Mexico and the US. She has also been a featured performer at the National Flute Association Conventions three times.
Called a "brilliant flutist" by the Los Angeles Times, she has worked with a wide variety of artists and ensembles including the Boston Philharmonic, Los Angeles Pops Orchestra, Tito Puente, Kenny Loggins, Babatundi Olatunji, Airto and Flora Purim, and The Dramatics.
Suzanne has performed on hundreds of recordings for Polygram, Warner Brothers, Windham Hill, BMG, Shanachi, Scottie Brothers, and numerous independent labels. Select film, television and commercial performance credits include Kleenex, Boston Legal, Pepsi, Johnnie Walker, California Tan, Murder, She Wrote, “300,” Big Bully (Tom Arnold), Separate Lives (Jim Belushi, Linda Hamilton), Baby (Farrah Fawcett), Green Dragon (Patrick Swayze, Forest Whitaker), The Grey Zone, The Kid Stays in the Picture (Robert Evans), Ice Bound (Susan Sarandon), Miss Spider, numerous independent and foreign films, commercials for India, Germany, Korea and Mexico, and an Environmental PSA with music by Hans Zimmer.
She has appeared on national television, including a musical performance on the Survivor II final episode, which was viewed by over 40 million people, and her composition “Fertile Crescent” was featured on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Her music has been heard on countless radio programs worldwide (ranking #3 on the New Age charts) and she has been featured on Public Radio International three times.
She is an endorsed artist for Yamaha, AKG and High Spirit Flutes and is a popular teacher, having taught flute, percussion and world music to many hundreds of students at schools, colleges, camps and workshops throughout the country. She co-facilitates retreats, guiding music circles, most recently in Hawaii and Guatemala. She has practiced yoga for over 20 years, loves traveling, gardening, and hiking and has summitted 19,000’ peaks in the Himalayas. She lives in Topanga with her husband Gilbert Levy and their son Miles.
GILBERT LEVY was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. With an early love for drums, he purchased his first drum set with the money he received for his Bar Mitzvah. Since there were already 40 drummers in his school program, Gilbert chose to study the trumpet and tuba in order to play in the high school band. His passion for drumming won out though, and he was soon performing professionally as a drum set player in R & B bands in clubs on Bourbon Street and with jazz greats such as Wynton Marsalis. Gilbert moved to Los Angeles in his 20s to further his musical career and fell into the world of pop music. After playing in numerous bands and working on several major label recording projects, he grew tired of the Los Angeles music scene and took a sabbatical from music. He then discovered world music after hearing tabla virtuoso Trilok Gurtu and began intensive studies on the tabla with Pandit Ravi Bellare. Gilbert has since developed an ability to play just about any drum he picks up and is a specialist on the Indian devotional drums, the khol and pekawaj, on which he is the primary accompanying instrument for numerous kirtan chanters (devotional Sanskrit call-and-response chanting). His unique drum kit includes drums from Africa and the Middle East blended with tom tom and cymbals. His musical style blends traditional rhythms with funk and R&B and his ability to create unique drum patterns keeps him in demand as a performer and recording artist.
About Mystic Journey
MYSTIC JOURNEY is the both the name of Suzannes world music band and her debut solo CD. The band has evolved over the years and with the help of her partner Gilbert, has developed into an internationally known ensemble. Their music can be heard on radio stations in faraway lands such as Belarus, Russia and Saipan. Based in Los Angeles, they have developed a large following and perform at a variety of venues ranging from the large outdoor festival where their audiences are known to fall into beautiful spontaneous group dances, to the more formal concert hall or theater setting to the even more intimate setting...a yoga center or even a special ceremony on a hilltop. Because their music creates a magical space for deep listening as well as joyful celebration, they are often invited to perform at major events benefiting numerous social, environmental or spiritual causes. (A partial list of such sponsors follows the bio.) Their shows have incorporated a number of prominent performers such as dumbek master Souhail Kaspar from Lebanon, Prince Diabate, a kora master from Guinea, West Africa, numerous belly dance troupes, a modern dance troupe and even a childrens choir. Along with Suzanne and Gilbert, Mystic Journeys core members are string bassist Barry Newton and multi-instrumentalist Dann M. Torres.
Upright bass player Barry Newton is a Los Angeles native. He received his Masters in Music from the California Institute of the Arts and
is a uniquely diversified musician. He has studied Indian and Indonesian
music and performs with a Gamelan ensemble in LA. As a classical bass
player, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic and currently
performs with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the orchestra for the Three
Tenors. Barry has worked with such eminent conductors as Leonard Bernstein,
John Mauceri, John Williams, and Boris Brott. He has accompanied Yes,
Chicago, Moody Blues, The Scorpions, Elton John, Brian Wilson,The Three
Tenors and Andrea Bocelli, among others. Also a jazz musician, Barry has
performed with greats such as Peter Erskine and Buddy Childers. Other
styles that Barry plays includes pop and rock, modern avant guarde and
bluegrass, and like the other members of Mystic Journey, he is a devoted
Dann M. Torres is a multi-instrumentalist with an affection for acoustic experimentation and electronic manipulation. Well versed in a variety of musical styles and idioms, from world fusion to post-rock, experimental to ambient jazz, Dann's divergent approach to sound design seeks to deconstruct genres into a sound that is compelling and unique. Dann lives in the LA area and has worked with Solace, Naked Rhythm, Shaman's Dream, Azam Ali and a variety of other diverse musicians in the studio, and in improvised performance. In Mystic Journey, Dann plays the oud, acoustic guitar and electric sitar guitar.
Their CD has received wide critical acclaim: "Sensual and Serene...Mystic Journey is an impressive debut." - BILLBOARD MAGAZINE; "Classically trained virtuoso...immediate pop accessibility."-YOGA JOURNAL; "Suzanne plays music for the soul." - LA TIMES; "One of the sweetest flute albums to come along in a while." - NEW AGE MAGAZINE; "Sweet, ethereal musical journey...orchestrated by Tengs delightful flute performances and the joy that emanates from her soul when she plays." - MUSIC CONNECTION; "Tengs chops are fluid and lithe, and the accompanists seamlessly augment her musical messages." - RHYTHM MAGAZINE; "Mystic Journey delivers the goods." - WHOLE LIFE TIMES; "Teng has made a rarity: a record that withstands close listening and can be a calming influence in the midst of a hectic day." - BOSTONIA MAGAZINE; "This artist is obviously award of the healing power of music." - MOUNT SHASTA MAGAZINE.
Although an independent debut release, Mystic Journey has received notable attention and was a candidate for a Grammy nomination this year for best New Age Album of 2000. The album reached Number 6 on the New Age radio charts and was a finalist in the prestigious New Age Voice Music Awards for "Best Acoustic Instrumental Album" and "Best Contemporary World Music Album." Suzanne & Mystic Journey have been featured on numerous radio and television specials such as the Public Radio International syndicated show Echoes (www.echoes.org) which also named Mystic Journey to be one of the top 25 albums of the year. It was also named one of the top 10 World Music albums of 2000 by Backroads Music (www.backroadsmusic.com). But perhaps their greatest recent victory was to be awarded the Independent Music Awards Best New Age Artist of 2000 http://www.musiciansatlas.com/winnersenter.html.
Suzanne Teng - Partial LIST OF PAST PERFORMANCES
Topanga Days Festival
Topanga Earthday Festival
Los Angeles Earthday Festival
Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Loews Hotel - Artist in Residence Concert
Santa Monica College Madison Site Theater Project
City of Los Angeles Pershing Square Concert Series
Rio Honda College
His Holiness the Dalai Lamas World Festival of Sacred Music
Come to the Edge Conference (Anaheim)
International Womens Day Awards
NoHo International Theater & Arts Festival
UC Davis Whole Life Festival
Kekchi Journeys (Guatemala)
Environmental Media Awards
Take-a-Hike Expedition Inspiration (Revlon)
Armand Hammer Museum
Maha Yoga Center
Yoga Works Center
City Yoga Center
Sivananda Yoga Ashram (Grass Valley, CA)
Earthsong Gallery (San Diego)
Portland Convention Center (Oregon)
National Flute Association Convention (Columbus, Ohio)
Kula Yoga Center (Hawaii)
Kihei Arts Center (Hawaii)
Childrens Health Environmental Coalition
Earth Day International
Art of Living Coalition
Share the Warmth
TCEP (Topanga Canyon Emergency Preparedness)
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
PATCH (People Assisting Topanga Canyon with Helping Hands)
UCLA Rainforest Action Group
Institute for the Healing of Racism
Friends of the LA River Project
Greater LA Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
American Oceans Campaign (opened for Sting)
Fulfillment Fund Awards (opened for Graham Nash, Don Henley)
Divine Design - Project Angel Food
Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
Conference on Deep Dialogue with Sue Millerhurst (Yucatan, Mexico)