Photo by Peter Jay
A graduate of The Juilliard School and a Fulbright Scholar, cellist Jennifer Kloetzel has concertized throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. A founding member of the San Francisco-based Cypress String Quartet (1996-2016), and QuartetES (2018-) Ms. Kloetzel has toured the globe and performed at such renowned venues as Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Chautauqua Institute and the Ravinia Festival, the Lobkowicz Palaces in both Vienna and Prague, Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik, as well as prominent universities and conservatories throughout the world.
Ms. Kloetzel is known for her elegant playing and vibrant tone. She is a sought-after recitalist, performing concerts for San Francisco Performances and on WQXR in New York. The Strad Magazine raved, “Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel is impressively passionate…” The Cello Museum proclaimed that her “energy, ceaseless intellectual curiosity, and virtuosic command of the instrument unite in exceptional musicianship, making her truly a hero of the cello.” Ms. Kloetzel has recorded 36 CDs, including the entire cycle of Beethoven Quartets and Brahms Sextets on the Avie label. Most recently, she released “Beethoven: The Conquering Hero,” the complete works for cello and piano (with pianist Robert Koenig), which was chosen as “Recording of the Month” by BBC Music Magazine in March 2022 and stated, “If only more cellists would play like this—and at this level of ceaseless musicianship… Kloetzel’s playing responds unerringly to the shift of creative tone at each stage of the composer’s development.” The review went on to state Ms. Kloetzel’s playing was “a masterclass in how to engage with the most powerful creative personality music has known.” Gramophone magazine hailed the Beethoven collection for “cello playing that’s notable for its warmth, inward expressiveness… Kloetzel comes across as so utterly natural.”
A champion of new music, Ms. Kloetzel received the Copland Award for engaging living American Composers, commissioning and premiering over 50 works, including five concertos written specifically for her. Premieres include a Cello Suite by Daniel Asia, a Cello Concerto “Cloud Atlas” and two unaccompanied cello works, “Lift” and “Cricket the Fiddler,” both composed for her by Elena Ruehr, and a Cello Sonata dedicated to her by Joseph Landers. The San Jose Mercury News noted, “Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel shines in premiere” and called her a “terrific soloist… with a robust and earthy sound.” Ms. Kloetzel recorded the Ruehr Cello Concerto with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which was released to critical acclaim in 2014. Lift, the title track of an all-Ruehr disc released on the Avie label, was among Keith Powers’ 13 Best Classical Music Recordings of 2016. Ms. Kloetzel is the featured cellist on a 2019 Albany Records release of music by Richard Aldag, and she premiered Lee Actor’s Cello Concerto, written for her in 2017. Recent world premieres include sonatas by Aldag and Ruehr and upcoming performances will include premieres of “Inferno: Double Concerto for Viola, Cello and Chamber Orchestra” by Joel Friedman, as well as six “companion” solo cello works commissioned by Ms. Kloetzel to pair with the Bach Cello Suites.
Ms. Kloetzel is winner of The Juilliard School’s top award, the “Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Music,” and a Presser Music Award, as well as a Fulbright Grant to England. In 2004 she was honored with the McGraw-Hill Companies’ “Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach” in recognition of years of outreach in schools and community centers. She has appeared at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Sarasota and Aspen Music Festivals, the Britten-Pears School, the Prague Mozart Academy, and performed as cellist of the Cassatt Quartet during the 1995-96 season. From 2003-2009, Ms. Kloetzel taught cello and chamber music at San José State University, where the Cypress String Quartet was Ensemble-in-Residence. She has given masterclasses at The Juilliard School, San Francisco Conservatory, and other universities throughout the United States.
Growing up near Baltimore, Ms. Kloetzel began her cello studies at age six. Her teachers included Stephen Kates, Aldo Parisot, William Pleeth, Harvey Shapiro, and Paula (Virizlay) Skolnick, as well as members of the Amadeus Quartet, the Cleveland Quartet, and the Juilliard String Quartet. After performing with pianist Andre Previn at the La Jolla Chamber Music Festival, Ms. Kloetzel was invited to appear as one of his “Rising Stars” for two seasons at the Caramoor Festival in New York. Ms. Kloetzel has been featured regularly on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” as both soloist and chamber musician, and her performances have been broadcast on radio stations across the globe. Ms. Kloetzel is a frequent soloist with orchestras throughout the United States, performing works by Beethoven, Brahms, Dvořák, Elgar, Glazunov, Fauré, Ibert, Haydn, Hindemith, Lalo, Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich, Strauss, Walton, and John Williams. In 2016, Ms. Kloetzel was invited to join the faculty at University of California Santa Barbara, where she is a Full Professor, teaching cello and chamber music while serving as both Head of the String and Performance Areas.