The Classical Station’s Interview with Jennifer Kloetzel

Interview with Jennifer Kloetzel 

by Bethany Tillerson (photo credit: © Michelle Lee Photography)

Jennifer Kloetzel is a distinguished Juilliard graduate and a Fulbright Scholar. She has performed around the world, most notably at Lincoln Center and the Lobkowicz Palaces in Vienna and Prague. Her most recent album, Beethoven: The Conquering Hero, was chosen as BBC Music Magazine’s “Recording of the Month” for March, and was praised by Gramophone. The Classical Station’s host Rob Kennedy spoke with her about her new album.

Kloetzel spoke eloquently about the love of Beethoven she has carried with her since childhood, and went on to discuss the album’s inspiration.

Kloetzel: Beethoven has been a constant in my life.[…]I’ve played all the string trios, all the piano trios. And now it seemed to me I wanted to focus for a while on the cello with piano music. And I added the Horn Sonata, the Opus 17 Horn Sonata, because Beethoven wrote a cello part for that when he sent it off to the publisher.

When asked about the piece “12 Variations on ‘See, the conquering hero comes’”, she spoke about its history and likely inspirations.

Kloetzel: It’s actually the first work that he wrote for cello and piano. And we take the title for the whole collection–I decided to name the collection “The Conquering Hero” from that standpoint of being like joy, of triumphant joy, not like we’re taking over. Handel and Mozart were the two composers whose music he admired above all else, so it made sense that he would have heard that opera or the oratorio in Vienna and then decided to choose that theme and create this set of variations for cello and piano–which work beautifully, I must say.  

Kloetzel also spoke about her cello and its history as an instrument made by Camillo Mendeleev.

Kloetzel: My cello is a modern Italian. We call it modern Italian, even though it was made in 1901.[…] It was made by Camillo Mendeleev. There aren’t a lot of instruments of his that survive, but it has a wonderful, healthy, robust sound. And it’s been my companion for many years now.

Jennifer Kloetzel’s album, Beethoven: The Conquering Hero, is a lush collection of some of Beethoven’s finest cello-and-piano compositions, with Kloetzel accompanied by Robert Koenig. The full interview with Jennifer Kloetzel will be available August 21st on Preview! Please support The Classical Station and tune in to hear her and other famed classical musicians all week long!