Jackie Dempsey’s music has been called “hypnotic” by The New York Times, “gloriously eccentric” by Time Out New York and “stunning and sophisticated” by the Washington Post. With Squonk Opera, a multimedia performance troupe she founded with visual artist and designer Steve O’Hearn over 20 years ago, she has created 11 multimedia productions and has toured to Asia and Europe and throughout the United States, including time both on and Off-Broadway. With Squonk Opera, she has been awarded grants and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation’s MAP Fund, The National Endowment for the Arts (6 grants as of 2013), The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, City Theatre and The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, among others.
Jackie was recently awarded an Investing in Professional Artists grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation and Heinz Endowments. She has worked as composer and sound designer for Quantum Theatre through a Heinz Endowments Creative Heights grant and has been awarded five Interdisciplinary Arts fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts as well as a Meet the Composer Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Jackie studied piano composition and music theory at the University of Pittsburgh (B.A.) and Washington University in St. Louis (M.A.), earning several performance and academic awards.
She has conducted music and interdisciplinary art workshops, master classes and residencies at over fifty universities, secondary and elementary schools across the U.S, including the University of Maryland, American Visionary Art Museum, SUNY Oswego, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, Towson University and Mississippi School of the Arts. In addition to Squonking, she has also taught piano for over 20 years, most notably at her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. She currently has a home studio where she teaches when she isn’t on the road with Squonk.