The Kruger Brothers have become world renowned for their unique classically-infused folk/acoustic music. On October 15th in Bristol, TN, the trio will perform the worldwide premiere of an original work, commissioned to honor the region, history and legacy of Tennessee’s Roan Mountain. The Kruger Brothers will be joined by The Kontras Quartet for this very special performance at the Paramount Center for the Arts.
The Roan Mountain Suite is the 5th commission granted to composer Jens Kruger and the trio, who will premiere the musical work on October 15th at the Paramount Theater in Bristol. The performance coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inaugural meeting to conserve the Roan, an effort initiated by the late Stanley A. Murray, husband of patron, Judy Murray, of Kingsport, TN.
Judy Murray founded The Stanley A. Murray Roan Mountain Suite Memorial Fund and sought support for the project. Her passion has now become a reality, and on October 15th she will witness the debut of this lasting tribute to her husband and the legacy for which he planted the seed in the 1960’s.
Dedicated to the memory of Stanley A. Murray, 1923-1990, The Roan Mountain Suite is a musical experience honoring the treasured landscape of the region. Stan Murray was a 14-year Chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference, a visionary and champion of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Highlands of Roan, and Founder of the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, initially founded for the protection of Roan Mountain.
Roan can be perceived in many ways through all of our senses. Countless beautiful words, have been written about the Roan, and glorious photographs have been taken, but I’ve always felt that Roan needed a wonderful piece of music to pay tribute to it, to honor it,” Murray says. “When I heard the Kruger Brothers and works that Jens had composed, I knew I’d found my composer and my musicians.”
The Roan Mountain Suite is a vibrant new example of Jens Kruger’s brilliant ability to enlist the illustrative power of music to tell a story in eloquent detail. While Jens plays in a melodic style that has roots in bluegrass, his music is distinguished by long, melodic passages and a complex compositional foundation, often building on jazz or classical themes and techniques.
“Jens is able to capture the essence of a landscape and translate it into music,” Murray says.
Jens Kruger is currently nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year Award for 2016. He was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music in 2013, the fourth recipient of this prestigious honor. Jens is known for his innovative banjo composition and performance, integrating folk music with European classical music. Jens was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Originally from Switzerland, Jens Kruger began playing North American folk music at an early age and was particularly inspired by recordings of Doc Watson, Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and other progenitors of country, bluegrass and folk music. He writes the music for all of The Kruger Brothers’ original tunes, collaborating with brother, Uwe Kruger, for insightful and stirring lyrics that complement the music. In 2006, Jens began his official venture into the themes and forms of classical music when he was commissioned to write Music from the Spring for banjo, guitar, bass and full symphonic orchestra. Jens has since received four commissions to write classical pieces which The Kruger Brothers have performed with various orchestral ensembles: Appalachian Concerto with string quartet; Spirit of the Rockies (commissioned by Canada’s iconic Banff Center) with a small orchestra; Lucid Dreamer, a chamber music piece written specifically for and commissioned by the Kontras Quartet; and now, the Roan Mountain Suite.
“Music is an enhancer,” Jens Kruger says. “For instance, you can look a landscape and the right music enhances the emotion you have for that imagery. Music also shapes, to a certain degree, your perception of the landscape.”
Since their formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, The Kruger Brothers’ remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in a unique sound that has made them a highly respected fixture within the world of acoustic music. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work. Uwe Kruger shines as a singer who is both direct and emotive, and for his impeccable guitar playing. He is also the lyricist for the group’s original songs. The trio is known for inventive compositions and performances that defy categorization. Their music is at once thoughtful and lyrical, and then virtuosic and complex. The experience is always profound.
Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger began singing and playing instruments at a very young age, and began their professional career in 1979. With the more recent addition of New York City native, Joel Landsberg, (who comes with his own noteworthy musical pedigree, having studied with jazz great Milt Hinton), the trio has been performing together since 1995, and is now based in Wilkesboro, NC.
In their ever-expanding body of work – including 15 albums to date – Jens Kruger (banjo and vocals), Uwe Kruger (guitar and lead vocals), and Joel Landsberg (bass and vocals) – The Kruger Brothers personify the spirit of exploration and innovation that forms the core of the American musical tradition. Their original music is crafted around their discerning taste, and the result is unpretentious, cultivated, and delightfully fresh.
“Roan Mountain resonates in a deep and personal way with all those who visit it, and by the same token, the Kruger Brothers’ music reaches into the hearts and souls of its listeners in profound and stirring ways.”
~ Judy Murray
LIVE CONCERT PERFORMANCE
The Roan Mountain Suite
The Kruger Brothers with The Kontras
Saturday, October 15th
~ 7:30 p.m.
Paramount Center for the Arts
518 State Street, Bristol, TN 37620
Concert and Gala
Reception Tickets are Now Available.
Concert Only, Reserved Seating: $30
Concert, Preferred Seating Plus Gala Reception with the Artists: $50
A suite inspired by the Roan Mountain Massif: the crown jewel of the Southern Appalachians.
The Event: A 50th Anniversary Gala celebration of the inaugural citizen meeting to conserve the Highlands of Roan, and the World Premiere of the Roan Mountain Suite by The Kruger Brothers.
Presented by: Judy Murray and dedicated to the memory of Stanley A. Murray, 1923-1990
ABOUT STANLEY A. MURRAY AND ROAN MOUNTAIN
Straddling the border of TN and NC, the Roan Mountain Massif rises high above the farms and villages of the valley below. Often referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of the Southern Appalachians, these 25,000 acres of ancient mountain peaks and ridges are renowned for their magnificent beauty and extraordinary ecological diversity. The Appalachian Trail runs along the crest for more than 20 miles. In 1966, then-Chairman of the Appalachian Trail Conference, Stan Murray, convened a small group of people in Johnson City, TN, to initiate planning for the conservation of the Roan Mountain Massif. The seed
sown at that meeting was to become the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy which has now conserved more than 65,000 mountain acres in TN and NC. The Highlands of Roan remains its flagship project. Through his leadership, and the ongoing dedication of countless volunteers, Stan was to steer the Appalachian Trail—and the Highlands of Roan—into protection in perpetuity.