Jeremy Kittel plays Orlando, but did visiting musicians get stuck in Siberia?

By Jeremy Kittel

Jeremy Kittel plays Orlando, but did visiting musicians get stuck in Siberia?

Thanks to Matthew J. Palm from Orlando Sentinel for the following article:

It’s a tale of two Orlando no-shows: Jeremy Kittel and the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra. Kittel, the acclaimed violinist, finally made it to Central Florida last weekend. But the Siberian musicians? Well, that’s a mystery.

Kittel was scheduled to perform with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra back in April 2018 but had to cancel. It was for a good reason: The musician broke his arm two weeks before the planned concert, and it’s no fun fiddling in that condition.

Music director Eric Jacobsen rebooked him in this season’s lineup, and Kittel debuted his work “Stones River” at the orchestra’s “Sounds of Freedom, Revolution and Joy” concert last weekend. I sat in on a rehearsal before the program so I was among the first to hear “Stones River” — along with the musicians themselves who had played it for the first time the previous evening.

Jacobsen was complimentary of the work, which hauntingly and beautifully weaves classic melodies dating to the Revolutionary War into the composition.

“Jeremy wrote a piece that was absolutely playable immediately,” Jacobsen said.

The concerto for orchestra and solo fiddle evokes a sense of nostalgia with a modern edge. In the fiddling, you can hear the rugged outdoors and the tears and pride of the early Americans who made this untamed continent their home.

With Kittel in town, it provided the orchestra with a rare opportunity to get immediate feedback from the composer, a bonus when presenting a world premiere.

“Thoughts?” Jacobsen asked Kittel, after leading the musicians through one section. Kittel advised on the volume of different sections. Later, he helped Jacobsen set the tempo for the piece, calling on the percussionists to propel the beat. “Maybe I’m not doing this right?” Jacobsen asked during a particularly tricky part.

Against the backdrop of the presidential impeachment, “Stones River” seemed to ask deep questions. With Revolution-era piping and the Civil War anthem “Battle Hymn of the Republic” wafting through the air, the thought lingered: What were those Americans fighting for? What does it even mean to fight for freedom? To be American? Powerful stuff from a moving and uniquely American composition.

Meanwhile, John Scott was among those surprised when they arrived at the Bob Carr Theatre on Jan. 25 for a concert by the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra — only to find the musicians weren’t there.

For more, check out the original article.