A native of Loveland, Colorado, cellist Jeremy Kreutz was appointed a member of the Houston Symphony in 2020 by Music Director Andrés Orozco-Estrada. He has been a fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, Round Top Institute, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, and the Pacific Music Festival in Japan, performing under conductors such as Marin Alsop, Valery Gergiev, Christoph Eschenbach, Larry Rachleff, David Robertson, and Robert Spano. He was also a two-time fellow at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Festival in Maine. In the summer of 2017, he was invited to perform alongside members of the International Contemporary Ensemble as part of the Ojai Music Festival, premiering works by Vijay Iyer and Courtney Bryan.
Jeremy began learning the cello at age 11 in the local public school system, where his father taught an orchestra program for 30 years. After earning his undergraduate degree at the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with Darrett Adkins, he completed his graduate studies under the tutelage of Desmond Hoebig at Rice University.
What was your audition like? Do you have any fun notes about it you would like share?
As anyone will tell you, these auditions can be pretty grueling. Nutrition was something that was more difficult than I expected; I definitely brought far too little food with me. One unexpected discovery that I made was drinking herbal tea for nerves. I got a cup from a coffee shop near Jones Hall an hour or two before the semi-final round, and perhaps this was a placebo, but I had truly never felt better in an audition. I now drink herbal tea religiously as a part of my pre-concert routine.
Did you move to Houston for this job? If you did, what do you love most about it?
I moved to Houston in 2018, when I started my studies at Rice University as a graduate student. I’ve loved this city as I’ve gotten to know it; I’m definitely a fan of warm weather, and the variety of incredible food is hard to beat.
How did you choose your instrument?
My dad, who conducted a public school orchestra for thirty years in Colorado, had this party trick where he would tell my childhood friends which instrument they should play when they were older based on the shapes of their hands. He always would tell me I had “cello hands,” so I went with his suggestion, but when I started studying music at age 11, I also picked up the clarinet as my personal act of preteen rebellion. Now we know who was right!
What hobbies and other activities do you enjoy?
I enjoy hiking and skiing when I get the chance to return home to Colorado, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become fonder of staying in and binging TV and film. My most recent obsessions have been the early 2000s seasons of “Survivor” and HBO’s “High Maintenance”.
What music are you currently listening to?
I listen mainly to R&B and neo-soul artists, such as Erykah Badu, Hiatus Kaiyote, FKJ, and Frank Ocean. Of course, I also spend a fair amount of time listening to Classical music, with my recent favorites being Kaija Saariaho’s music and the Belcea Quartet’s Beethoven album.
What does music mean to you?
Growing up with parents who performed and loved music, I saw how intricately music was woven into their connections with their friends and family, and as I’ve grown older, I’ve seen these connections develop in my own life with people I never would have had the chance to form these connections with otherwise. I think a special bond is formed in live performance, a bond both between the musicians performing together on stage and between the performers and audience. Everyone involved is committing to this cooperative experience and experiencing it simultaneously with everyone else in the room. I think there’s a lot of beauty in this shared experience, and it has greatly informed how I go about navigating my life on the whole.