Fellows Friday: Q&A with Michael Djupstrom

Michael Djupstrom, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.

As part of our “Fellows Friday” series, we focus on the artistic lives of our Pew Fellows: their aspirations, influences, and creative challenges. Visit us each Friday to meet a new Pew Fellow and to learn more about his or her artistic practice.

This week, we speak to classical music composer and pianist Michael Djupstrom, who seeks to connect with audiences by bridging traditional and contemporary styles of musical expression. He has been honored with numerous awards, including the Delius International Composition Prize, the Maurice Gardner Award, and the Academie musicale de Villecroze Prize.

What images or things keep you company in the space where you work?

Next to the piles of scores and manuscript paper on top of the piano, there is a vaguely extraterrestrial-appearing stuffed animal I found in the basement of a Tokyo thrift store, a Mata Ortiz vase, two Langenscheidt “Lilliput” dictionaries (1.5 x 2 inches each), an origami flower given to me by a stranger on a train somewhere in Italy, and a hand-sculpted glass spider made by Wesley Fleming.

Which artist would you most like to have dinner with, from any time in history?

George Enescu, Romanian violinist, pianist, and composer (1881–1955).

If you could collaborate with anyone alive today (someone you don’t know personally), who would it be?

Author Isabel Allende. An opera libretto? Songs? A ballet scenario?

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Perhaps being a travel writer. I love studying languages and exploring unfamiliar places.

Vera Nakonechny, 2008 Pew Fellow, has been named a 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

The first multi-concert retrospective of Julius Eastman, an African American composer who was active internationally in the 1970s and 80s, but who died at age 49, will include rarely-performed works that showcase the composer’s broad compositional practice.

Grants & Grantees

Winner of two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, the Crossing is a professional contemporary chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally.

During its run from September 18-21, the OutBeat Festival sparked conversation and was featured across numerous new outlets.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Artist and community activist Rick Lowe is the founder of Project Row Houses, a neighborhood-based nonprofit arts and cultural organization in Houston’s Northern Third Ward.

A trio of concerts from the world-acclaimed pianist Jonathan Biss, tenor Mark Padmore, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and the Brentano String Quartet will provide new insights on the forms of expression found in the late stages of the lives of nine great composers, including Bach, Kurtág, Mozart, and Schubert.

Grants & Grantees

“The pulsating energy that we get from drums have a way of connecting us to everything else in the universe,” says Nana Korantema Ayeboafo, a 2008 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Lorene Cary is a writer and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

This interactive, site-specific program invited audiences to explore a Northeast Philadelphia recycling facility from the artist’s perspective, with a series of films, performances, and discussions focused on increasing public awareness of the waste stream and the role of art in shaping social and environmental consciousness.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Paul Hostetter is the Ethel Foley Distinguished Chair in Orchestral Activities at Columbus State University, and is a conductor for the Sequitur Ensemble and the New York Concerti Sinfonietta.

Grants & Grantees

Lisa Coffman is a poet and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Mural Arts explored South Philadelphia’s immigrant history through interactive public art projects that included photography, installations, poetry, and dance.