Sweet Auburn Extra: Interview with Suzanne McDermott

July 13, 2023

We contacted Suzanne McDermott early this spring regarding her song, “Meditation at Mount Auburn Cemetery” which appears in Sweet Auburn Magazine 2023 Vol I.

Can you tell us, what first brought you to Mount Auburn and when was it?

When I was hired at MIT in January 1991 to support the Office of incoming President Charles Vest, I lived in an apartment in Belmont. I love to walk and explore neighborhoods and am fond of historic cemeteries. Once I discovered Mount Auburn Cemetery, I visited frequently during my time in the Cambridge area.

What inspires you about Mount Auburn Cemetery?

The lyrics to my song, Meditation at Mount Auburn Cemetery pretty much describe everything I find inspiring but in a word, beauty; the beauty of life on earth and human expression.

What would your advice be to a first-time visitor to the Cemetery?

Take time to wander without expectation, with reverent curiosity and a map in your pocket.

Watercolor painting of trees
Watercolor by Suzanne McDermott

If you could travel back in time, what person or persons buried or memorialized here would you like to have a conversation with?

It would be fun to have a long, leisurely afternoon and evening dinner party with an assortment of men and women particular to my personal interests from different eras.

If it had to be one person, I’d choose Randall Thompson. Rather than a conversation, I’d prefer to tag along with him for a few days, assisting in some capacity and sitting in on classes, rehearsals, performances, administrative duties, meals, and car rides. 

My second choice would be Abraham Maslow in a similar capacity.

I wouldn’t mind hearing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow recite Evangeline to a small private group.

How long did it take you to write the Mount Auburn song?

All my life.

How would you describe your music?

That’s really a question for an objective listener but essentially, songs for voice and guitar with intelligent, poetic, spiritually evocative lyrics.

Learn more about Suzanne!  http://www.suzannemcdermott.com/

Comments are closed.