A Boundary-Stretching Fiddler

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Sunday April 22, 2018

From South Coast Today

Boundary-stretching fiddler Jeremy Kittel to play New Bedford April 22
By: Jay N Miller

Jeremy Kittel has never wanted his fiddle playing to be defined by one genre. Instead, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, native has sought to use his instrument to traverse musical boundaries, finding common ground where possible, forging new ground where necessary.

[…] But perhaps the accomplishment closest to Kittel’s heart is the fact that he was the first recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin Award. It is named in memory of the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists and eventually beheaded. Pearl was an avid fiddler in his spare time, and often used that to foster relationships with people in the foreign lands where he worked.

‘That Daniel Pearl Award is so cool,’ said Kittel from his Brooklyn home. ‘I was really honored to be the first recipient of that award, a few years ago. I still feel, from reading a lot of his writing, that we would be kindred spirits, just for the curiosity he never lost, and the way he talked of seeing similarities in all our cultures. Music allowed him to connect more deeply to other people and cultures he encountered around the world, whatever their other differences.

‘That’s really our common thread, because that’s how I feel about all these various styles and cultures I’m trying to bring into my music. I think we are both trying to build bridges between people, tapping into our universal similarities. I had a tune I wanted to write for Mr. Pearl, and for a long time I just couldn’t seem to get it. But then, a while back, I wrote one that felt like a plea for peace, and I decided that should be the one. I named it after the collection of his writings, ‘At Home In the World.’‘

Read the interview here