Susan Bell León joined the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra as Principal Bassoonist in 1984. She previously held the position of Principal Bassoonist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico and prior to that performed as a member of the bassoon section of the Mexico City Philharmonic. She has performed as a soloist several times with the Arkansas Symphony as well as with orchestras in Colorado, Missouri, and Mexico. An active chamber musician, Leon is a member of the Etesian Winds and performs frequently on the ASO River Rhapsodies series. She co-founded the Pinnacle Players, a chamber orchestra which performs without a conductor. She has recorded Latin American chamber music with both Angel Records and The Musical Heritage Society.
Susan Bell León received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a master’s degree in music performance from the Yale School of music, where she studied with Arthur Weisberg. Her first bassoon teacher was Kay McSpadden, who was also her immediate predecessor in the Arkansas Symphony. In addition, she studied with Willard Elliot, Robert Wisniewski, and Barbara Wood. She is active with various community organizations and recently retired from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences after nearly 30 years of service.