Kruger’s Spirit of the Rockies premieres this week

This Saturday (August 25) will mark the premier of a new piece of music composed by Jens Kruger, scored for a chamber orchestra and his own ensemble, The Kruger Brothers.

The piece, Spirit of the Rockies, will debut in Banff, Alberta at the Banff Centre, performed by their musicians in residence, joined by Jens on banjo, Uwe Kruger on guitar, and Joel Landsburg on bass.

The Banff Center commissioned this work, as a part of their ongoing efforts to support new music in a variety of forms and genres. It was The Kruger Brothers’ 2010 project, Appalachian Concerto, a banjo concerto Jens had written for his trio with a string quartet that sparked interest from the center. The commission was offered, and this weekend the Banff audience will be the first to celebrate the new composition.

Though Swiss by birth, the Krugers now live in the Appalachian region of North Carolina. Jens said that his intention with Spirit of the Rockies was to use the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta with the Swiss Alps of his homeland and the Appalachian ridges of his adopted home as inspiration.

“For the English, the wilderness was something to be conquered. Trade routes, rather than ski trails, were what they were after. When the railroad opened up the continent, new settlers came in with a very different perspective, one that appreciated the uniqueness and delicacy of the environment. It was a perspective embodied in the Swiss guides who were the first to blaze the hiking and ski trails and build the mountain retreats that are now emblematic of the region. They brought an awareness of beauty.

The Spirit of the Rockies, is our own falling in love and our own understanding of beauty and of the fact that we are part of this world, and it is a part of us.””

No word yet on a possible recording of this piece.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • Mark Byrum

    Earl took the banjo to places and used it in a manner not theretofore seen back in the 1940’s. Jens is doing the same thing today. I am confident this piece will be tasteful and well done. I look forward to hearing it (and perhaps seeing Jens perform it).
    Good reporting John.

  • Chris Poisson

    I was fortunate enough to witness the Kruger’s world premier of their newest composition entitled “Spirit of the Rockies” at the Banff Centre, Alberta Candada. It is an amazing composition with many moods, movements and moments of sheer greatness of musical fusion …the brothers backed by a 14- piece stringed orchestra. There was a fantastic synergistic bounce between the orchestra and the Krugers unlike anything I have ever seen and more importantly, heard. After the main performance, the Krugers invited the orchestra to toss out the sheet music for an open jam to “16 Tons”. Your ears haven’t lived until they have heard “16 Tons” improvised on the French Horn! The reception after the main performance was also a really great up close and personal-like performance by the Krugers on a smaller stage in the Banff Centre nightclub. Laura Bousinger sat in and lulled the crowed with her wonderful voice. The entire evening was an experience to remember. Thank you Krugers!!!