Jessica Suchy-Pilalis grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her father a physicist and mother a composer. She studied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, The Eastman School of Music with Eileen Malone and Indiana University with Susann McDonald, specializing in Byzantine music. She later continued her studies in Greece, graduating with diplomas from two music conservatories.
In 1988, she received a fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts. In 1996 she took a teaching position with the Crane School of Music where she later became a department chair. She also established a concert career, performing both in the US and abroad. She has toured in Greece and performed at international music festivals and for Greek National Radio-Television. Suchy-Pilalis also conducted a year of research in Greece through a grant from the Taylor Foundation.She is listed on the artist roster of Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour.
Suchy-Pilalis is noted as a specialist in Byzantine music. In 1984, she became what is thought to be the first official female Psaltai of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America, serving as Protopsaltai at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Indianapolis. She holds certifications from both the State and Church of Greece.