Jennifer Heemstra | Michigan State Young Alumni Award Recipient
Master of Music in Piano Performance, Cleveland Institute of Music | Bachelor of Music with honors, College of Music, Michigan State University
A professional pianist and entrepreneur, performer to over 65,000 children and adults from India and other countries where classical music may be hard to find for most people – and a few water buffalo who wander through the open-air concerts.
Jennifer Heemstra is founder of the Kolkata Classics Trust in India, which provides free health services for trafficked women, educates children and exposes the citizens of Kolkata to classical music. In 2017, she founded the Pitch Pipe Foundation, a US-based NGO through which Heemstra organized and headlined “On the Road,” a patriotic salute to our veterans. She most recently organized 50 concerts to support the National Salute to Veteran Patients at Veterans Affairs medical facilities nationwide.
Heemstra received the Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad from Secretary John Kerry, was recipient of the MSU College of Music Distinguished Alumni Award and was its 2017 Commencement Speaker.
Heemstra is a compassionate performer with a zeal for aiding others. She recruits world class musicians to volunteer their time to travel across the world, joining local professionals and inviting people in the audience to sing, dance or perform. Kolkata Classics and Pitch Pipe concerts entertain, educate and build awareness of critical needs, from human trafficking to the honor due our veterans.
During her seven years in Cleveland, Ms. Heemstra worked as a Lecturer and Staff Accompanist for over 350 performances in the music department at Case Western Reserve University, performed with the Cleveland Opera and frequently concertized with members of the Cleveland Orchestra. In Rome, Italy she was the music teacher at the American Overseas School of Rome and put on musicals at John Cabot University.
Ms. Heemstra is a member of Music Teachers National Association, the College Music Society and was a delegate to the 2nd World Congress Against the Sexual Exploitation of Women in Delhi, India.
“While working with trafficked women and children in over 70 concerts in South Asia I have realized our ability to communicate, reflect the beauty of the world through music, and underscore our shared humanity is what truly makes me feel successful.”