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The Kruger Brothers

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Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing at a tender age, and began performing regularly before they reached their teens. Music was an important part of life in their family and the boys were exposed to a diverse range of musical influences. They were particularly inspired by recordings of Doc Watson, Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and other progenitors of country, bluegrass and folk music. Beginning their professional career in 1979, Jens’ and Uwe’s first public performances were as a duo, and in just a few years they were busking on the streets of cities throughout eastern and western Europe.
CBS Records contracted with Jens and Uwe when Jens was just seventeen years old, and shortly thereafter, the Krugers hosted a radio show on SRG SSR, the Swiss Public broadcast group. Several years later, the brothers teamed up with bass player Joel Landsberg, a native of New York City with an equally impressive musical pedigree in classical and jazz (having studied with jazz great Milt Hinton). Thus was formed a trio that has been playing professionally together since 1995. The trio moved to the United States in 2002 and is based in Wilkesboro, NC.
Composing the music for all of the Kruger Brothers’ original tunes, Jens began his “official” venture into the themes and forms of classical music when he was commissioned in 2006 to write Music from the Spring for banjo, guitar, bass and full symphonic orchestra. Since then, he has 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 with a small orchestra; Lucid Dreamer, a chamber music piece written specifically for and commissioned by the Kontras Quartet which debuted in 2014; and most recently, Roan Mountain Suite, which honors the region and legacy of the Roan Mountain Massif on the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Jens was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame in 2011 and two years later, was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. He has received multiple IBMA Banjo Player of the Year nominations. 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.
Uwe Kruger, lead vocalist and guitarist, has developed a startling range and versatility, both instrumentally and stylistically. Uwe astonishes audiences with his blend of guitar-picking styles. His unique style, a blend of flat-picking and finger picking, is a fascinating experience. His rich, resonant, and mellow baritone voice has an uplifting effect on all who hear him sing. His unique style, a blend of flat-picking and finger picking, is a fascinating experience. Uwe loves playing “in the moment,” and regularly improvises during live performances, often eliciting proud smiles from brother Jens.
And like many other musicians, Joel Landsberg began learning music through classical training on the piano. After several years of piano lessons, he switched to the bass at age 12, and as he discovered his love for the instrument, Joel decided to devote all of his attention to playing the bass. The variety of musical influences – Broadway, classical, jazz, rhythm and blues – that surrounded Joel as he was growing up in New York City, have all contributed to his versatile, imaginative style. In 1989, Joel moved to Switzerland and began a successful career as a bassist with various country/rock and jazz groups based throughout Europe. It was during this time that he met Jens and Uwe and developed what would become a deeply rewarding musical alliance and friendship. In early 1995, Joel was initiated into the “brotherhood” and has been performing full time with the band ever since.
Since their formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, when they were invited to appear at the iconic MerleFest music festival, The Kruger Brothers’ remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in the unique sound that has made them a fixture within the world of acoustic music. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work. Together, the three artists have established the incomparable sound for which the Kruger Brothers are known today.
In their ever-expanding body of work – 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.
In addition to their regular concert schedule, The Kruger Brothers perform these classical pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the country.
Through their numerous CD releases, radio and television performances, lectures, and collaborative efforts, The Kruger Brothers’ powerful artistic statement continues to inspire and enlighten audiences and musicians around the world.

My Artists Sessions

Friday, May 24
 

4:00pm EDT