Backstage at the Norton Center with Jeremy Kittel
1. VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW THAT I… Often take late-night walks alone listening to music; I’m sometimes amazed that almost no one is out doing their thing except me.
2. WHEN I’M NOT ON TOUR I… love chilling at home; hanging with people or animals I like; listening to or writing music, jamming with friends; checking out shows… and doing yoga or sports to get centered again. There’s even this cool thing called Ecstatic Dance that I’ve been getting into.
3. WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT MY ART IS… When I’m able to help people feel differently, feel more whole, through music. Music has been so healing for me, so to be able to give back in that way feels very gratifying.
4. A LIFE LESSON I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH CENTRE COLLEGE STUDENTS IS: One of my mentors once suggested “Quid Pro Quo” to me, and to him it meant very generally that you get out of something what you put into it. Sometimes it can take a lot of faith and energy to give to something you believe in, and while of course things won’t always work out the way we intend, I think that the energy is usually returned somehow, or it can lead to really interesting things.
5. I DEFINE ART AS: Hmm… tough question! To me, Art is human expression; it can’t be defined by or limited to any number of forms or types of content; that stuff is always changing. Honesty of intention is important to me; when an artist is brave enough to be honest is when I feel we can most deeply connect with the art, and subsequently, to each other.
6. MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN SHOW BUSINESS THUS FAR WAS: I’ve been fortunate enough to get to play with many of my heroes, which has been amazing. But one of the memories that sticks out the most was actually playing fiddle at a dance in northern California attended by a lot of friends – there was a moment it seemed like everyone in the room was connected, as if by some invisible energetic web.
7. THE PERSON WHO MOST INFLUENCED ME IS: THE person? Just one? Come on… 😉 Well, if there’s anyone who influenced me the most it would probably be my mom, though I realize how uncool that is to admit. But she’s the one who really introduced me to music, for example. And she drove me around to jam sessions before I could drive.
8. IF I COULD BE ON STAGE WITH ANYONE, PAST OR PRESENT, ALIVE OR DECEASED, FICTIONAL OR REAL, IT WOULD BE: Bjork is one of my all-time favorite artists – maybe I’d work up some electronic effects on my violin and collaborate with her. But I also would have loved to be in the Band – man, that would be exciting. But then again, I’d also love to be on stage with Bach, mostly just to see and hear him do his thing! To know what he sounded like, and what he was like in person. And we could jam – yeah, sure.
9. WHILE TOURING, ONE OF MY GUILTY PLEASURES IS: Kombucha. And cranking the music on the highway with the windows down… yeah. Wish my bandmates loved that as much as I did.
10. IF I COULD ENSURE THAT THE AUDIENCE TAKES HOME ONE THING AFTER MY PERFORMANCE, IT WOULD BE: That they were moved and felt more alive; that they got to be part of a special experience…
More about the artist:
Jeremy Kittel is at the forefront of a new breed of fiddlers and violinists who easily navigate between a multitude of musical styles and traditions. Fluidly mastering this rich musical heritage, he also breaks exciting new ground while helping to redefine the role of his instrument.
Currently touring internationally with his name-sake group, the Jeremy Kittel Band, he leads audiences into exciting new-acoustic music territory. He also maintains an active schedule of collaborations with some of today’s most innovative and influential artists, from genres diverse as folk, jazz, classical, and pop music. Recently completing a five-year position as a full-time member of the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet, he has also toured and recorded with such musical giants as Mark O’Connor, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Paquito D’Rivera, the Assad Brothers, Stefon Harris, My Morning Jacket, Jars of Clay, Abigail Washburn, and Ben Sollee. He has appeared on the NPR radio show A Prairie Home Companion, has been a guest performer with multiple symphony orchestras, and has performed at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Bonnaroo, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
His most recent solo recording, Chasing Sparks (Compass Records), clearly establishes Jeremy as a formidable composer and arranger as well as a violinist of the highest technical and musical sensibilities. This comes as no surprise given that his three previously released CDs span the musical spectrum from jazz to celtic, with a strong dose of originality and technical mastery.
One of the leading improvising violinists of his generation, Jeremy has a master’s degree in jazz violin from the Manhattan School of Music, and he is the recipient of the 2010 Emerging Artist Award from his alma mater, the University of Michigan. He is also a National US Scottish Fiddle champion as well as a multiple winner of Detroit Music Awards and ASTA Alternative Style awards.
As a lover of song, and as a singer himself, Kittel enjoys collaborating with singers and lyricists from any genre. Most recently, he has arranged and recorded orchestral-style strings for several major-label releases: Abigail Washburn’s “City of Refuge,” My Morning Jacket’s “Circuital,” and an upcoming release by the Platinum-selling, Grammy-winning band Jars of Clay.
Jeremy Kittel will perform with his band in Club Weisiger on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. All tickets are $30 and seating is limited. For more information, visit NortonCenter.com.