From Saline to the Grammys and Beyond, Jeremy Kittel's Rising Star Makes A Return Stop in Saline, April 6


Jeremy Kittel grew up in Saline and performed with The Saline Fiddlers in his high school years. Now he lives in Brooklyn, NY, has been nominated for a Grammy, and is one of the most renowned violin/fiddle players in the world. But it’s not just fiddle music he is sought out for. He is equally at ease in many genres including pop, classical, jazz, Celtic and more.

Jeremy is presently touring with his quintet, Kittel and Co., and will make a stop in Saline on April 6 at 7:00pm, where they will be the guest artist at the Saline Fiddlers’ 30th Anniversary Hometown Show at Saline High School. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE and can also be purchased at the door. ($15 for adults, $10 for Students and Saline Fiddler alumni, and free for kids 10 and under).

I recently had a chance to catch up with Jeremy while on tour. We talked about his current work and what he has planned for the future. We also discussed growing up Saline and what it means for him to come back to his hometown and share his passion for music and inspire the next generation of Saline musicians.

Remembering His Early Years in Saline

Jeremy had a natural talent for music as a child. In Saline schools he found an environment that nurtured and inspired. He remembers waking up early in middle school years to participate in the weekly Fiddle Club sessions before school started – just as dozens of 6th, 7th and 8th graders still do today. He joined the Saline Fiddlers in High School. When asked what inspired him to join, he said: “I mean, that was the jam in town, man. I looked up to them, I thought they were awesome and heard them a bunch when I was around middle school age and always wanted to join the group. I had been working with the leader at the time, Bob Phillips, in the middle school programs. I just jumped at the chance to audition, and it was awesome.” These days, Kittel plays at venues all over the world and performs and collaborates with some the finest musicians. Yet he still remembers fondly his time performing with the Saline Fiddlers: “The first thing that comes to mind is the music – being creative with the music. Then there was the social network. It was a tight knit group. It was great working with the guest artists. And then there was the travel and performing. I remember the long trips to Scotland and Washington DC for example, but I also loved that we would just jump in the vans and play at shows within driving distance.”

When Kittel comes to town on April 6th he also hopes to host a workshop with some of the current Saline Orchestra students. “I love sharing music and musical knowledge with anyone, honestly, but it has a special significance to be in the place where I grew up and came out of. To be able to give back and connect adds an extra level.”

His Professional Career

After Kittle graduated from Saline HS in 2000, he earned degrees from the University of Michigan School of Music and from the Manhattan School of Music in New York. He has recorded 5 albums (4 solo) and was a member of the Turtle Island Quartet for 5 years. He has collaborated with many musicians across multiple genres, including Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket, Sarah Watkins and many more. He received a Grammy nomination for "Best Instrumental Composition” for the track “Chrysalis” in 2019. Kittel and Co.’s most recent album “Whorls” debuted as #1 on the Billboard bluegrass charts.

Kittel continues to write and record new material. His latest recording project is an orchestral collaboration album with the Orlando Symphony Orchestra that is almost complete and will be released soon. He’s also working on new material with his band Kittle and Co. He said the new material is a mix of instrumentals and vocal music which they plan to record later this year. He said the audience at the Saline Fiddler Hometown Show in April will hear some of his new material.

The group Kittel and Co. consists of Jeremy Kittel on violin, along with mandolin phenom Josh Pinkham, transcendent bassist (and UM alum) Jacob Warren, guitarist Quinn Bachand, and hammer-dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman. When asked about their style of music, and where his group gets their inspiration, Jeremy had this to say: “There’s not really a standardized name for the style. Nickle Creek use the term ‘progressive acoustic’ so we’ll go with that. You’re taking in all these styles that are out there that maybe are not usually associated with these string band instruments and you’re bringing all that stuff – whether it’s pop or jazz or classical - into the acoustic band world. Some of the artists we a super inspired by are Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, Chris Thile’s crowd of Nickle Creek and Punch Brothers, and so many others. A lot of these projects have different cross-stylistic fusions of different genres.”


You can see Kittel and Co. perform with the Saline Fiddlers April 6, 7:00pm at the Ellen Ewing Performing Arts Center at Saline High School. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE, or at the door.

The Saline Fiddlers extend a special "Thank You" to the PICKNELL TEAM OF REINHART REALTORS for their generous financial support and helping to make this show possible.

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