School of Music, Theatre and Dance at the University of Michigan

Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra



GRAMMY-nominated performer Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra thrives as improvisation expert, award-winning composer, conductor, pedagogue, author, hymn festival director, and concert artist on antique organs, carillons, harpsichords, pianos, and clavichords throughout North America and Europe. In 2020, Ruiter-Feenstra and a team of international prize-winning journalists and filmmakers launched Collaborative Investigative Composing (CIC): where stories & music meet. With CIC, the team tells underreported stories of social injustices, resilience and agency via music compositions and short film documentaries. Their CICs are performed on solo keyboard instruments, in chamber ensembles, and in a forthcoming oratorio, “Mother of Exiles.” Ruiter-Feenstra & Dutch journalist Jet Schouten co-created the pandemic response, “Healing Bells,” which was concurrently premiered on six continents.

As carillon lecturer from 2019–2020, Ruiter-Feenstra mentored students to compose new works on stories, tunes, and issues from around the world, to lift up underrepresented voices, diversify carillon repertoire, and engage new and seasoned audiences. Their resulting collection of 42 new works, Global Rings, is featured by carillonists worldwide. For the winter 2023 semester, Ruiter-Feenstra is working again with students on developing Global Rings Improvisation. Previously, her explorations as Senior Researcher at the Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden culminated in her acclaimed books on Bach and the Art of Improvisation. She served as Professor of Music and University Organist at Eastern Michigan University and Bethany College. She has recorded organ works of Tunder, Bach, and Ruiter-Feenstra; harpsichord works of Froberger and Böhm; carillon works; and multiple improvisations. Author of seven books, dozens of articles, and recipient of several grants, she serves on four DEI committees.

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Updated on: 3/9/2023