Born in New Haven, Connecticut, where her father, pianist Ward Davenny, was professor of music at Yale University, Susan Davenny-Wyner trained first as a violinist and violist. She was completing a degree at Cornell University when, through the encouragement of Professor Barbara Troxel, she discovered her passion for singing. Later, at the Yale Summer School of Music and Art, Davenny met her future husband, composer-pianist-conductor Yehudi Wyner. Her career was launched when she became a last-minute replacement as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, and in the following years she sang with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Colin Davis, Erich Leinsdorf, Robert Shaw, Lorin Maazel, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Neville Marriner, and Michael Tilson Thomas, and with orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the London Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic. In 1981 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, and in 1983 her flourishing career was shattered when she became the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Following her recovery, she found that she could no longer sing. She was asked by Cornell to conduct a choral concert, and the success of that event led to her appointment at the university, directing the same choirs in which she had sung as a student. Since then her conducting credits have included the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Boston Lyric Opera, and the Tanglewood Festival, as well as concerts in the Czech Republic. In the 1999–2000 season she became music director of the New England String Ensemble.