Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival Names New Executive Director

Susan Shiplett Ashbaker, courtesy image
Susan Shiplett Ashbaker
Susan Shiplett Ashbaker, courtesy image – Susan Shiplett Ashbaker, a performing arts professional for more than four decades, has been appointed Executive Director of the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, now in its 43rd Season. Ashbaker assumed the role from Elaine Lipton, who retired in 2021 after a 15-year tenure, returning in April to aid the Festival in its transition.

“I am grateful to Executive Director Emeritus Elaine Lipton and Operations Manager Erika Pfammatter for partnering with me during this time of transition. They, and the Board of Directors, have welcomed me whole-heartedly, and I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship,” shares Ashbaker.

CCCMF Board President David Farer said “we are very excited that Susan has become a part of our beloved institution as our new Executive Director. She has already brought fresh, inspiring and focused ideas to the table, at the same time evincing a great respect and admiration for the Festival’s traditions. With the advantage of Susan’s deep experience and abilities melded with the existing strengths of the Festival, we see wonderful things ahead.”

Raised by two musician parents, Ashbaker is active in the opera/vocal industry as an independent artistic advisor/consultant, master class presenter, lecturer, and opera/vocal coach. She serves as a master class presenter, having taught recently at Boston Conservatory, the University of Miami, Binghamton University and Ithaca College, among others. She is concurrently Associate Professor of Westminster Choir College (Rider University) and Director of the Westminster Opera Theatre and CoOPERAtive Program.

Previously affiliated with Tri-Cities Opera as General and Artistic Director, Ashbaker “transformed the company in every way imaginable,” according to the former Board Chair. Additionally, she served Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) for 16 years, the last 11 as Director of Artistic and Music Administration. She has worked as assistant conductor/vocal coach with New York City Opera, the European Center for Opera and Vocal Arts, the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute, International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, Theater am Goetheplatz (Bremen, Germany) and the Academy of Vocal Arts, and she was on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music for nearly 20 years.

Ashbaker is a frequent judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a former participant on the MET Quiz Show. Ashbaker has also participated as a panelist with Opera America, the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and as a judge for the the Jensen Foundation, the Marian Anderson Emerging Artist Competition and the Richard Tucker Foundation Auditions, among others. She trained at Southern Illinois University and l’École Normale de Musique de Paris, and received a second master’s degree in Vocal Accompanying and Coaching from the University of Illinois under the tutelage of John Wustman.

“The roster of artists this season is absolutely remarkable. We are grateful to have the most respected and well-regarded Artistic Directors in Jon Manasse and Jon Nakamatsu. With their level of musicianship, it is no wonder that the talent they bring in is of the highest level,” says Ashbaker.

For more information about Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival’s 2022 season and tickets for in-person concerts from August 2 through 19, visit, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook.

About Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival

Hailed by The New York Times as “A Triumph of Quality,” Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival (CCCMF) has been a presenter of chamber music and a major contributor to the cultural life of Cape Cod since its founding in 1979 by the late pianist Samuel Sanders, a longtime collaborator with Itzhak Perlman. The Festival’s current Artistic Directors Jon Manasse (clarinetist) and Jon Nakamatsu (pianist) represent the top ranks of American chamber music. In addition to its annual summer season of concerts, outreach programs and an annual benefit concert in New York, CCCMF partners with local cultural organizations.

For more information visit, or follow Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival on Facebook.

Related Posts