Cellist Kevin Krentz Innovates on the Stage

Seattle University’s own Kevin Krentz is bringing the cello to center stage in his debut Faculty Cello Recital this Saturday, May 24. Though Krentz has performed on campus numerous times throughout his two years as a cello professor at Seattle U, this will be his first solo recital on campus. He will be joined by pianist Christopher Hahn and Seattle U music faculty members Quinton Morris, director of chamber and instrumental music, Marcus Talley, professor of violin, and Amber Archibald, professor of viola. “I wanted to involve other faculty members because my specialty is chamber music, and that’s my first love,” said Krentz. Krentz and company will perform the Debussy Cello Sonata, Saint-Saëns Cello Sonata, Dvorak’s “Humoresque,” Jalbert’s “Dual Velocity,” Shaw’s “Limestone & Felt,” and a series of Gliere duets. “The music I selected is a wide range of Classical and Romantic pieces as well as some modern pieces,” Krentz noted. “I wanted to find different flavors and pieces that are really strong and that connect with audiences.” The unique pieces also showcase Krentz’s versatility as a cellist. “He has this huge, dynamic range of different characters he can choose from,” said cellist Aaron Hauser, one of Krentz’s Seattle U students. “He can be dynamic or he can be smooth and dolce. He’s

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also a pure technician. It’s a joy to watch because doesn’t miss; he doesn’t play out of tune.” Though Krentz is performing pieces from various time periods and places, they all have one theme in common: accessibility. “I’m seeking relevance in the classical music world to a larger portion of our audience,” Krentz said. Connecting with the audience is a vital part of Krentz’s musical teachings as well. “I take pains to make sure my students are viable in the real professional world,” he said. “I want them to have all the experience and all of my time and energy that I can possibly give them.” “We have a bond in the cello studio,” Hauser said. “We want to play for Krentz, we want to do well for Krentz, and likewise we want to support him as much as we can because of all the tools he’s given us. He puts 110 percent effort into his students.” Outside of Krentz’s extensive teaching and performing experience, he has also made a name for himself as a musical innovator. In 2013, Krentz and luthier Robert Young created a string instrument design and innovation company called Krentz String Works. “Krentz String Works has been focusing on psychoacoustics,” Krentz said, noting that cellos often do not project as clearly as other instruments. Throughout his career, he has created several musical inventions that maximize the cello’s sound. “In classical music, you’re in a constant fight between sticking with tradition and doing what’s new,” said cellist Shannon Truong, Executive Assistant for Krentz String Works and one of Krentz’s Seattle U students. “A lot of the big music companies are really stagnant, but Dr. Krentz is always pumping out new ideas. It’s a really cool combination of science and music.” Krentz’s most famous invention is the Wolf Eliminator. In music, a “wolf” is created when a played note matches the natural resonating frequency of the instrument’s body. The two vibrations mix and create an unpleasant sound. Krentz’s Wolf Eliminator alters one of these vibrations, thus eliminating the wolf. “We are now selling the Wolf Eliminator on every continent and in every major symphony in the United States,” Krentz said. “It was in Strad Magazine and Strings Magazine and, I’m very excited to say, is being used by major soloists all over the world.” Krentz’s practical, fact-based approach to music led him to create several other inventions which enhance the instrument’s sound “in a way that’s subtle and beautiful and that doesn’t ruin the experience of the acoustic instrument,” he said. “He always strives to have a balance in the sound of the cello,” Truong noted. “His cellos are really powerful, really loud, they react a lot faster and they have tons of color.” Truong and Hauser each own cellos by Krentz String Works, which Krentz customized to fit their personal preferences. Krentz’s dedication to his students demonstrates his investment in his work at Seattle U despite his influence in the larger classical music world. “The university is a snapshot of the larger communities of the city of Seattle and of the nation, so faculty members need to be out there doing their part to make music and to bring live art and performances to the community,” he said. Krentz’s Faculty Cello Recital is Saturday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. in Pigott Auditorium. Student tickets are $5.