Dr. Pamela Ruiter-Feenstra is co-founder, composer, and performer of Healing Bells. At Healing Bells, she, international journalists, and filmmakers collaborate to tell stories of social injustices, resilience, and agency via music and film. In their first work global work, she and Jet Schouten co-created “Healing Bells,” a pandemic, anti-racist response that premiered in 14 countries. Ruiter-Feenstra’s contributions as Senior Researcher at the Göteborg Organ Art Center (Sweden) culminated in her acclaimed Bach and the Art of Improvisation volumes.She initiated Global Rings in collaboration with the University of Michigan Carillon Studio, whom she mentored to compose and arrange new works for the carillon based on global tunes, stories, and issues. With 42 new carillon works, Global Rings lifts up underrepresented voices, diversifies carillon repertoire, and engages new and seasoned audiences.
A featured recitalist, clinician, and hymn festival director in the 2022 National American Guild of Organists Convention (Seattle), the centennial international Hymn Society Conference (D.C.), and the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America Congress (Chicago), Ruiter-Feenstra thrives as an improvisation expert, award-winning composer, conductor, pedagogue, author, and concert artist on antique organs, carillons, harpsichords, pianos, and clavichords throughout North America and Europe. She composed the prizewinning “Peacemakers” (GCNA 2nd prize) for carillon as an antidote to hate speech and actions, and “Healing Hands” (Mayo Clinic Rochester Carillon 1st prize) to lift up the multiple modes of healing through the hands of custodians, clerks, cooks, greeters, nurses, surgeons, musicians, et al.
A 2017–2019 recipient of a Ronald Barnes Scholarship grant from GCNA, she interviewed individuals from Arab and Muslim, African American, Jewish, and Latinx communities. Inspired by their voices and life stories, she composed the collection, Belonging: A Carillon Call to Care for All.
Ruiter-Feenstra served as Professor of Music and University Organist at Eastern Michigan University, where she launched an annual Improvisation Symposium, and Bethany College, where she designed festive and contemplative liturgies. She has recorded organ works of Tunder, Bach, Ruiter-Feenstra, Connor Chee, and B.E. Boykin, harpsichord works of Froberger and Böhm, Healing Bells works, carillon works, and multiple improvisations. Ruiter-Feenstra recently penned eight articles on Women in Improvisation in The American Organist, and is now initiating her eighth book, Global Rings Improvisation.