Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra


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Professional Title

Lecturer, Organ


School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD)


Grammy-nominated musician Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra thrives as a social justice activist, improvisation expert, award-winning composer, concert artist, conductor, and pedagogue. As founding Artistic Director and composer for Healing Bells, she works with international journalists and filmmakers to tell underreported stories of social injustices and agency via music and film. In witnessing the catharsis people experience when their voices are finally heard and represented through musical storytelling, Ruiter-Feenstra advocates for Healing Arts Centers and collective healing forums that can reach more people who have been marginalized. In 2020, Ruiter-Feenstra & Dutch journalist Jet Schouten co-created “Healing Bells,” a pandemic, anti-racist response that concurrently premiered in 14 countries. Her explorations as Senior Researcher at the Göteborg Organ Art Center in Sweden culminated in her acclaimed books, "Bach and the Art of Improvisation." She applies her improvisation expertise to global styles, most recently with Global Rings and Global Rings Improv, two pedagogical, performance, and publication initiatives Ruiter-Feenstra led in collaboration with University of Michigan carillon students to diversify carillon repertoire and engage new and seasoned audiences. A multiple grant winner, Ruiter-Feenstra channels funding into organizing social activist conferences and residencies; commissioning Black and Indigenous composers; and featuring Healing Bells collaborative projects such as "Landscapes of Crises in Venezuela," a musical–documentary poetry triptych in collaboration with journalist Marielba Núñez; "Ní una más, Ní una menos," an artistic collage of music, poetry, and dance with journalists María Arce, and Ana Avila; and "Belonging: A Carillon Call to Care for All," in which she interviewed individuals from Arab and Muslim, African American, Jewish, and Latinx communities about their experiences with prejudice, and composed works that begin to transform pain to healing, solidarity, and agency.

Research Interests

Healing Bells
Healing Arts
democracies dismantled
forced migration
mixed methods
community-based research
sexual harassment/gender harassment
violence (sexual/gender/other)