Suter was - besides Friedrich Hegar and Hans Huber - an important representative of instrumental and choral music in the German-speaking area at the turn of the 20th century. He was a student of Huber and later by Carl Reinecke in Leipzig. After an organist in Zurich (from 1894), he led from 1902 until his death almost the Basel glee club and choral society, and conducted the symphony concerts of the Universal Music Company. For three years he was director of the Conservatory in Basel. 1913 awarded him the University of Basel with an honorary doctorate.
Stylistically Suter is less close to his teacher Hans Huber, but rather Johannes Brahms. As his most important work applies in 1923 formed late romantic oratorio Le Laudi di San Francesco d' Assisi after the Canticle of Francis of Assisi, which made him only known internationally. In 1924, the Oratory of the centenary of the Basel Choral Society was first performed by Suter. Earlier works are - in addition to chamber and choral music - a symphony in D minor (1914), a book written by Adolf Busch Violin Concerto and a symphonic poem. In 1923 he wrote the music for the festival Wettstein and Riehen of Albert Oeri; it comes to the now popular Wettstein march. Suter wrote a new Swiss national anthem ( with the corresponding texts came from Carl Albrecht Bernoulli ), but could not prevail.