RootsWorld's Music of the Month for September 2018

My September 2018 pick for Music of the Month is The Natural World by American composer, singer and musician Rinde Eckert. While for years he has been known for his ensemble work with some of the best musicians in the country, this album finds him in his own company, playing all the instruments, including guitars, ukulele, piano, accordion, South American wood flute, and percussion. But at the root of it all is his voice, and instrument of infinite variety and range. As he said in his interview in RootsWorld, “It does put us in a different kind of space... a wonderfully genderless space that frees us from all the attitudes that one can bring to the situation. I tend to use it when I want to jump us out of our expectations and into a liminal world.”

Exploring the Natural World A conversation with Grammy-winning composer and playwright Rinde Eckert

Rock and Roll Globe
September 7, 2018

Rinde Eckert has been a vital part of New York City’s performance art community since the mid-‘80s. He’s a Grammy-winning composer, musician, songwriter, performer, writer and director. He has written operas, plays, librettos for composer Paul Dresherdance scores for Margaret Jenkins and performed several one-man shows. He’s been recording his original music, with the help of various collaborators since the late ‘80s, but he’s never made a solo album until earlier this year, when he cut The Natural World with producer Lee Townsend. Eckert spoke about his musical path from his New York City apartment.

 

Do you remember the first music that inspired you and made you want to become a performer?

My parents were both opera singers, so I was listening to music really early. I was going to operas when I was five and performed in my first opera when I was seven. I had a good voice, so I was a ringer, when they needed a kid to stand up and sing something. I learned music to understand the world my parents were in. I did study music, but I’ve been playing and singing since I was five, in one-way or another. I did have a rough patch, when I wasn’t singing very well, but after three months went by, my voice came back. I’ve continued on ever since.

Jenkins and collaborators immerse the audience in ‘Toward 45’

San Francisco Chronicle
By Claudia Bauer
May 18, 2018

There are work-in-progress showings, and then there is Margaret Jenkins Dance Company’s “Toward 45.” Technically, it’s a casual salon where celebrated choreographer Jenkins, her 10 dancers and longtime collaborators like musician Paul Dresher and poet Michael Palmer can share ideas they’re developing for a celebratory performance next season, the company’s 45th anniversary.

In reality, “Toward 45,” which opened a three-night stand at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance on Thursday, May 17, is a fully realized, up-close immersion in music, poetry, contemporary dance and theater.

It’s also the first time all of the collaborators — Jenkins, Palmer, Dresher, theater artist Rinde Eckert and scenic and lighting designer Alexander V. Nichols — have worked on the same piece since “The Gates (Far Away Near)” in 1993, though they’ve collaborated in smaller configurations in the interim.

Maine rivers don’t just flood, they inspire art

BDN Maine
Living
April 18, 2017

 Patty Wight | Maine Public Visiting artist Rinde Eckert (right) works with students during a rehearsal.

Patty Wight | Maine Public
Visiting artist Rinde Eckert (right) works with students during a rehearsal.

Students of theater, music, and art at the University of Southern Maine may share similar areas of creative interest, but they tend to focus on their own media. In the past few months, that’s changed.

The students have been collaborating on a theater production that explores how Maine’s waterways have shaped its history. The show, “Molded by the Flow,” opens Friday in Lewiston.

The name not only reflects the content of the show, it’s also a metaphor for how it was created. It’s what’s called devised theatre, where producers toss aside the typical predetermined script and instead form a show from improvisation and collaboration.

It’s an approach that senior Cameron Prescott, a major in music performance, was not used to.

“I was very, uh, apprehensive about the whole thing. As a performer, I like everything under control and prepared. It took me time to realize that this isn’t that,” he says.

Two visiting artists, Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert, guided the students in creating the show, which is described as a “poetic, visual, and musical narrative” that explores the relationship between Maine’s waterways and its history. Eckert says it’s about how streams shaped the landscape and formed rivers, the power of which was harnessed by mills, and how that water flowed out to the ocean, which has its own power, and created centers of culture and community through its ports.

Review: ‘Aging Magician,’ a Fable Complete With Complexities

The New York Times
By Anthony Tommasini
March 9, 2017

Harold, a middle-aged, solitary sad sack, earns his living making and repairing clocks. What really consumes him, though, is the children’s book he has been writing for years, about an aging magician who must pass on his Book of Secrets to a receptive child, a magician heir. But before he can do so, the magician collapses and is rushed to a hospital.

How should Harold end the story? And why is he finding it so difficult? He shares his crisis in the poignant, entrancing "Aging Magician," at the New Victory Theater, the invaluable company that presents family-oriented entertainment...

BWW Review: Experience the Timeless Magic of the New Vic's THE AGING MAGICIAN

by Kristen Morale
March 7, 2017

I am sometimes amazed by how brilliant some people in this world are, especially when it comes to bringing exciting and downright mesmerizing pieces of art to the stage - because a production that has the power to make people come together in such unanimous awe can only be described as art. When this can be said of a children's show no less, it is even more admirable, and I have the greatest confidence that all who see The Aging Magician at the New Victory Theater will be shocked by how shockingly beautiful this show is.

And when I say beautiful, it is an understatement to describe what, exactly, makes this so memorable a concept and performance. With a plot as intricate as the gears of a clock and meant for both those who have much or little time ahead of them, The Aging Magician, like a magic trick itself, is a little bit elusive, requires a little bit of personal insight, but does not beg for more than the audience's belief to make it truly something of a wonder.

Rinde Eckert performs RIN: Tales from the Life of a Troubador at The Kennedy Center (review)

Rinde Eckert performs RIN: Tales from the Life of a Troubador at The Kennedy Center (review)

February 7, 2017
By Susan Galbraith
DC Theatre Scene

"...Just as he defies categorization of music styles or voice techniques, Eckert blurs all lines between creator and interpreter. Many performance artists are known for attempting this, but what makes him exceptional is that he is so darn good in all aspects of music-theatre..."

Review: ‘RIN: Tales From the Life of a Troubadour’ Starring Rinde Eckert at The Kennedy Center

DC Metro Theater Arts
by David Friscic
February 7, 2017

"...Mr. Eckert’s iconoclastic 'performance art' style always produced the unexpected..."

The acclaimed writer, composer, librettist, physician, performer, and director Rinde Eckert delighted and amazed the crowd on Friday evening at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Eckert allowed the audience to enter his seemingly hermetically sealed world of musical language, comedic riffs, rare instrumentals, and anecdotal tales.

Mr. Eckert is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award as well as several Drama Desk Awards. He certainly captured the crowd’s attention with amazing verbal wordplay, singing in the highest of registers and playing several musical instruments...

 Rinde Eckert. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

Rinde Eckert. Photo courtesy of the Kennedy Center.

Review: ‘RIN: Tales From the Life of a Troubadour’ Starring Rinde Eckert at The Kennedy Center

DC Metro Theatre Arts
By David Friscic
February 7, 2017

The acclaimed writer, composer, librettist, physician, performer, and director Rinde Eckert delighted and amazed the crowd on Friday evening at the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Eckert allowed the audience to enter his seemingly hermetically sealed world of musical language, comedic riffs, rare instrumentals, and anecdotal tales.

Mr. Eckert is the recipient of the Lucille Lortel Award as well as several Drama Desk Awards. He certainly captured the crowd’s attention with amazing verbal wordplay, singing in the highest of registers and playing several musical instruments...

Insightful Reviews of Schick Machine, with text and direction by Rinde Eckert

Insightful Reviews of Schick Machine, with text and direction by Rinde Eckert

Steven Schick at the Peacock in the Paul Dresher Ensemble production of Schick Machine. | Credit: Chi Wang


What’s inside a Schick Machine? There are diagrams and equations, drawn on butcher paper; huge metal sculptures, balls, and hoops, and bells. A deconstructed pipe organ in the shape of a sunburst — called the Peacock — dominates the space. Somehow, Laszlo Klangfarben dreams, these mechanisms will work together in harmony, reconciling past and future, large and small.