Following early instruction with Ebba Trampe Susan began her piano lessons at MacPhail at age 14, taking the bus or train to Minneapolis on Saturdays to study with Cleo Hiner throughout her high school years. She later studied with Gunnar Johannsen (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and with Bernard at the University of Minnesota where she also did graduate work. Additional teachers and coaches include Rudolf Ganz, Lili Kraus, Frank Manheimer, and others.
Susan is the recipient of many prizes and scholarships, and has performed frequently as soloist and chamber musician over a span of more than fifty years. In 1996 she created the Dr. Shin Tanaka Memorial Piano Scholarship at MacPhail in the memory of her husband, a gifted pianist, patron of the arts, and former MacPhail student. She has supported the scholarship by performing a series of ten benefit concerts, collaborating with other MacPhail faculty members and from the Minnesota Orchestra, as well as her twin sister author and poet Sara DeLuca. Throughout her long career as a piano teacher, Susan has also been a church organist, currently at First Church of Christ Scientist in Excelsior.