RINDE ECKERT is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. His opera/new music theatre productions have toured throughout America and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. With a virtuosic command of gesture, language, and song, the total theatre artist moves beyond the boundaries of what a 'play,' a 'dance piece,' an 'opera' or 'musical' might be, in the service of grappling with complex issues. Eckert describes many of his characters as "little men with big ideas whose consequences of their hubris are often disastrous." Sometimes tragic and austere, sometimes broadly comedic, entirely grounded by presence, his work is alchemical: moving from rumination and distillation to hard-won illumination, or its lack.
New music writing and directing projects include the critically acclaimed Sandhills Reunion CD (music by Jerry Granelli, text by Eckert); The Schick Machine, a solo-theater work for percussionist Steven Schick composed/produced by Paul Dresher; Imaginary City with So Percussion; Sound Stage for the ensemble Zeitgeist; Gurs Zyklus, a new music/performance/multi-media installation and collaboration with sound sculptor Trimpin; and Steven Mackey’s oratorio Dreamhouse. Conducted by Gil Rose with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the recording received three 2010 Grammy Nominations: Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical. Eckert wrote the text and performed in the multi-media production Slide with composer/guitarist Mackey and the new music ensemble 8th blackbird. Slide toured to major university campuses, was renamed Lonely Motel by Cedille Records, and won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Eckert and Mackey are also members of Big Farm, the 4-person ‘prog-rock’ super group with drummer Jason Treuting (So Percussion) and bassist Mark Haanstra. Rinde Eckert’s own uniquely eclectic music is released on Germany’s Intuition label and through Songline/Tonefield Productions.
Rinde Eckert has been teaching a semester each year at Princeton University since 2007,working with graduate students from the English Department and School of Music. He has had extensive writing/directing residencies at the University of Nebraska to create Horizon; the University of California at Davis Department of Theater and Dance where he wrote and directedFate and Spinoza; in partnership with Hancher and the University of Iowa to create, write, direct and perform in Eye Piece, a play exploring the loss of vision; and at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts to create, write and direct theater students in The Last Days of the Old Wild Boy. He will direct Eye Piece for Barnard College students in March 2013.
Rinde Eckert lives in New York with his wife, Ellen McLaughlin, the playwright and actress.