Music 03


Susan Martula

1940 - 2021


Troy - Susan Barbara Martula, 80, retired principal clarinetist with the Albany Symphony, died on June 28, 2021 at her home in Troy, New York.   

Susan, the daughter of the late John and Helen Martula, grew up in Hadley, Massachusetts. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Smith College in 1962, and afterwards studied at the Paris Conservatory and worked for Nadia Boulanger.  Upon her return to the States, she studied clarinet with Leon Russianoff at Manhattan School of Music, receiving a Master of Fine Arts in 1964. As a professional clarinetist Susan continued to study throughout her career and was a student of Larry Combs and, in later years, Steve Hartman. In addition to her work with the Albany Symphony she was principal clarinetist of the Berkshire Symphony.  She also played with the American Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, the Colorado Philharmonic, Lake George Opera, and others. She has recorded with Albany Records, New World, and Nonesuch. 

Susan served on the faculties of Skidmore College and Williams College, where she was artist associate, led the Williams Clarinet Choir and performed with the Williams College Chamber Players. She was adjunct instructor in music at Emma Willard School and was the founding conductor of the orchestra. 

Throughout her distinguished career, Susan taught and nurtured scores of young musicians.  Her home was fondly referred to as “Camp Martula” by artists who traveled to the Capital Region to perform with the Albany Symphony.  She took great delight in hosting her visiting colleagues, and regaled them with legendary dinners precisely timed to get the group to the concert hall on schedule.

Susan was fun to be around. She was charming, gracious, and had a keen wit. People enjoyed her elegant sense of fashion and great smile. She displayed these same qualities during her recent years of treatment for her illness and the pandemic. She stayed as active as possible, even swimming long distances in the ocean which was a lifelong passion, and continuing her Pilates, another passion. Most importantly, she planned and did joyful things like getting ice cream with those she loved. Susan knew how to enjoy every moment that was given to her.  

She was predeceased by her husband of 29 years, David A. Perry, M.D. She is survived by brothers Dick (Ann) Martula and David (Tanyss) Martula, nephew Stefan and niece Rose (David), grandniece Brooke, stepdaughter Noelle and stepson Nathan (Amy), goddaughter Deslyn (Alex), and eight grandchildren: Kage, Kevin, Cameron, Mia, MacKenzie, Isabelle, Penda and Charlotte. 

Thank you to the Community Hospice of Rensselaer County and all the health care workers, especially Bibi, Jennifer, Dee, and Wendy, who assisted Susan during her illness. Special thanks also to Susan’s circle of deeply devoted friends, especially Ellen, Victor, and Mitsuko.

Burial will be private and a memorial service is planned for later this year. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Susan B. Martula to the Albany  Symphony Orchestra Inc., 19 Clinton Avenue, Albany, NY 12207, or to the Berkshire Symphony, Bernhard Music Center, 54 Chapin Hall Drive, Williamstown, MA 01267.


Albany Symphony Orchestra
19 Clinton Avenue, Albany NY 12207

Berkshire Symphony, Bernhard Music Center
54 Chapin Hall Drive, Williamstown MA 01267

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276 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY

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Robert T Barrett

July 13, 2021 9:24 AM

Richard: my condolences to you on Susan's passing,  We were classmates at Hopkins (Class of 58).  We lived down the street from you on Russell Street.  Susan was so quiet and a kind person.  I sent the sad news to all of her other classmates who were not in the local area.  Our Class will always remember Susan as a shining light in our lives, especially the Hopkins Band members.  She will not be forgotten.

Rich, Carol and Lauren Miller

July 5, 2021 9:21 PM

Our condolences on Susan's passing.  I first met Susan while I was an undergraduate at Williams in the mid 1980's and singing with the Choral Society (members of the Berkshire Symphony accompanied us often)  She was a great woman and very generous with her wisdom and musicianship.  We then reconnected when our daughter, Lauren, attended Emma Willard and was part of the orchestra.  I am so sad to learn about her passing and our thoughts are with you during this very difficult time.

Sheryl Stoodley & Robin Doty

July 5, 2021 8:22 AM

Celebrating the renewal of life!
Sending light and love to all the Martula family.
Sheryl Stoodley & Robin Doty

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The Mobrays

July 2, 2021 4:17 PM

Sent with love, prayers and remembrance
The Mobrays

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Leah Aizen (friend of Deslyn)

July 2, 2021 3:11 PM

With deepest sympathy.
Leah Aizen (friend of Deslyn)

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A Memorial Tree was ordered in memory of Susan Martula by Leah Aizen (friend of Deslyn).  Plant a Tree

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