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Katherine Pukinskis

Katherine Pukinskis
Composition and Theory

Composer Katherine Pukinskis (PhD University of Chicago, MM/BFA Carnegie Mellon University) has received world premieres from Grammy-nominated performers like Eighth Blackbird and Spektral Quartet, as well as ensembles like the Chicago Symphony Chorus, San Antonio Symphony, and Akropolis Reed Quintet. A 2016 commission by La Caccina sets a mosaic of unwelcome comments often directed at women in “We Are:” a 2019 project was started by a commission from the Esoterics in Seattle where Pukinskis excerpts from dissents written by the female Supreme Court Justices of the United States. Pukinskis currently teaches courses in music theory, composition, and ethnomusicology, at Harvard University. Her scholarly research revolves around notions of cultural identity, diaspora, traditional folk and choral music, and activism, with particular emphasis on Latvia and 20th-century American Art Song. Both her work in composition and research explore storytelling and voice—tracking how words and ideas travel in music, across the world, and over time.

Creative Projects include:

And It Was Quiet
Music for choir and chamber orchestra that pairs the 13th-century Stabat Mater with Libby Chaney’s 21st-century poem “To Hold You”

Fault Line
Written for Eighth Blackbird and inspired by the autobiography of a woman who lived through the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975-1979 in Cambodia

Quiet Threnody
A collaboration with Ensemble Dal Niente violist Ammie Brod presenting visceral and emotional sound as a representation of grief