At this point, hearing Kittel play offers the listener that delightful experience of being in the audience as a young musician devours vast new swaths of musical territory. But soon his musical life will become a question of direction more than talent. Already a three-time competitor in the All-Ireland music competition, he could reach the top level of Celtic music. He could become a durable and well-paid pop phenomenon like Mark O'Connor, or he could be one of the amazingly talented fixtures of Ann Arbor's musical culture like Mr. B, with whom he shares a stage from time to time. Or he could pass the gift along as a teacher.
It's up to him. Witness the next stage of a trajectory worth watching when Kittel opens the Summer Festival Top of the Park season on Friday, June 13.
[Originally published in June, 2003.]