Jeremy Kittel is an American violinist, fiddler, and composer. Previously of the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet, for the last few years the Brooklyn-based artist has been diligently building his own repertoire of music for an original new group, Kittel & Co. (“Kid-dle and Koh”).
In 2019, Jeremy received a Grammy nomination for “Best Instrumental Composition” for his original song “Chrysalis” from the Kittel & Co. 2018 debut album entitled Whorls alongside other prevalent nominated composers such as John Williams and Terence Blanchard. Fluent in multiple musical genres, Jeremy composes original music that draws from a wide variety of influences including folk, jazz, Celtic, Classical, electronic, and orchestral film scores. Jeremy performs with his group Kittel & Co., as a soloist with orchestras, and in collaborative and supporting roles with many of today’s leading artists such as My Morning Jacket, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Laura Veirs, Sara Watkins, Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, and Aoife O’Donovan. An impressive list as it is, Jeremy would still jump at the opportunity to collaborate with Bjork or Janelle Monáe, and he is very inspired by musicians and composers who continue to produce music, well into their golden years, such as the film scores of the legendary John Williams.
Jeremy grew up in the Detroit Metropolitan area, and with his other two siblings, experienced a fair amount of music immersion, playing the violin, practicing daily and developing an aptitude around 12 years old. Jeremy credits Celtic music as a huge influence and he took up busking to raise money for a trip to Ireland. Not only is Jeremy hugely talented on strings, but educated as well with a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music and has also received the 2010 Emerging Artist Award from University of Michigan (his alma mater). He is the recipient of awards including the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship and six Detroit Music Awards, and has contributed to many Grammy-nominated recordings. He was also the first recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin. Believing passionately that music and the arts are central to the human experience, Kittel enjoys teaching music through workshops and clinics at diverse programs such as Berklee College of Music, Belmont University, The New School, International Music Academy of Pilsen, Zurich University of the Arts, Mark O’Connor Strings Camps, the Swannanoa Gathering, Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, and the University of Michigan.
Kittel & Co. inhabits the space between classical and acoustic roots, Celtic and bluegrass aesthetics, folk and jazz sensibilities, and has performed at venues such as Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Celtic Connections, and A Prairie Home Companion. The group released its debut album, Whorls, in 2018, which features Kittel along with mandolin phenom Josh Pinkham (named “the future of the mandolin” by Mandolin Magazine), transcendent cellist Nathaniel Smith (as heard with Sarah Jarosz and Kacey Musgraves), guitarist Quinn Bachand (called “Canada’s top Celtic guitarist” by Ashley MacIsaac), and hammer-dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman (acclaimed for bringing a new tonal flexibility to the instrument). Bluegrass Situation calls Whorls “a feat of new acoustic, string band-rooted chamber music…. whimsical, alluring, and magnificent,” while Earmilk says Whorls is “…a devastatingly beautiful album… a stunning melting pot of classical and folk music, featuring some of the greatest musicians in the genre.” Jeremy learned many lessons from the making of the album, while perfecting the natural, acoustic string sound, and taking risks with writing the material, ultimately “following and trusting the creative process, wherever it may lead.”
Currently, Jeremy is thrilled to be working with Orlando Philharmonic again, with an album that has freshly been recorded, which includes a tapestry of early American melodies with “Stones River” being the centerpiece, and taking music from Civil War and earlier times. In February 2020, he first premiered “Stones River,”commissioned and performed by the Orlando Philharmonic with Jeremy as soloist, which now serves as a teaser for the full album. Called “haunting… beautiful… a moving and uniquely American composition” by the Orlando Sentinel, “Stones River” draws from the deep well of multicultural American Revolutionary and Civil War music.
Kittel & Co. has embarked on a big U.S. tour, making a stop here in Grass Valley at The Center for the Arts on October 13, 2022. Jeremy prides himself for his live, immersive, exciting and acoustic performances. Multi-stylistic musicians will be joining him on stage for a dynamic and creative night of warm string harmonies, and maybe even a note struck so intensely, as to blow out the bow, which he says has happened before during a finale.
This news article is an interview originally featured in the new 2022 Backstage Magazine. Tickets for the October 13th show are still available here.