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Ellis native joins music legends by playing at famous Carnegie Hall

5/20/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

An Ellis native has made the leap from performing in Ellis High School's auditorium to Carnegie Hall.

Cornell Kinderknecht, a 1981 graduate living near Dallas, will play his original work June 7 in a solo act and in a duet for the U.S.A.-Japan Goodwill Concert. The woodwind musician, who is considered a world/new age artist, will play the ocarina and flute.

Kinderknecht traced his love of music to his early years. His siblings joined his late mother, Angie, in her polka band, Angie's Polka Band. She nurtured her children's interests.

"It was a really big influence to always have that music in the house, and really be encouraged to do whatever we were drawn to do," he said.

The musician started on the saxophone and later learned the piano. During his college years at Kansas State University, he studied classical music. A woodwind instrument convention introduced him to what he later would play to approximately 3,000 people in Carnegie Hall.

Music is his passion because of its complexity and variety.

"I think with music, there's this cross between the creative aspect of it as well as the theoretical aspect ...It's almost like a mathematical puzzle," he said. "There's a lot of fascination in that."

Kinderknecht worked as a software engineer before he committed to music full-time seven years ago. His career has spanned three CDs and two nominations for Musician of the Year at the Texas Music Awards. The musician also tours the nation playing concerts and teaching workshops.

Kinderknecht's sister, Janetta Heroneme, Ellis, said she is proud of her brother.

"Since childhood, with his natural talent intact, Cornell has had a wonderment with music -- with a need to know, to learn more, to play all genres and to compose," Heroneme said.

She was not surprised by his success.

"I know Cornell, and I knew he would make it big," she said. "There is just something about him -- genuine charm, and something about his music -- enchantment," she said. "Both move the soul."

For more information on Kinderknecht, visit www.cornellk.com.