Rinde Eckert began making work in 1980 with The New Performance Group (Seattle), an ensemble of musicians, interested in exploring the border of music and theater. For over twenty-five years he has been writing, composing, performing and directing his own work. The work varies widely in character from opera to chamber music, plays, dance and performance art.
Since Rinde’s role (or roles) in the development of these works varies widely from piece to piece (writer, composer, performer, and director, in different combinations) breaking his creative history down into discrete categories is cumbersome. What follows is a chronology of works with brief explanations.
was are/will be-writes the text and performs (premiere- Japan American Theater, L.A.) with music by Paul Dresher
Slow Fire-writes the text and performs the one act version (prem.-Mark Taper Forum, LA.) with composer Paul Dresher and director Richard E.T. White
No Say -creates this first as a duet with Byron Brown (prem. New Performance Gallery [NPG], S.F.)
Isthmus- a solo he writes for Sarah Shelton Mann (prem.-NPG)
Slight of Hands-directs this duet with Sarah and Byron; also composes the score. (prem. NPG)
EVOL- writes the musical score for this evening length dance by Contraband (prem.-Theater Artaud, S.F.)
Slow Fire - completes the first two act version (prem. American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia) with Paul Dresher and Richrd E.T. White
Nomad Mad-writes and performs with Ruth Zaporah, also composes and designs the sound and music score. (prem. Intersection Theater, S.F.)
Not For Real-writes and directs for Leonard Pitt; also designs the sound score. (prem.-Life On The Water Theater, S.F.)
Shelf Life-a collaboration with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. he writes and performs the music and text. (prem.-Theater Artaud, S.F.)
Shorebirds Atlantic-writes the text and music for this duet with Margaret Jenkins; choreography is by Jenkins. (prem. Kalang Theater, Singapore)
Shoot The Moving Things- a solo radio musical he writes and performs live for KPFK in Los Angeles
No Say-develops this earlier work for an installation at Cal Arts with ceramic sculptor Rory Nakata
Invisible Wars- writes the music for this dance by Contraband (prem.-Theater Artaud, S.F.)
Slow Fire- completes the final two act revision of the piece (prem. Hancher Auditorium, Iowa City)
Grace Floats-conceives, writes and directs for Deborah Slater; also composes the music. (prem. New Performance Gallery, S.F.)
Dry Land Divine- a solo piece he conceives, writes, and performs (prem.- Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, Ca.)
and so they...writes the text and performs this short duet with Margaret Jenkins (prem. Zellerbach Hall)
Steps Midway-composes the music for this solo by M. Jenkins (prem.-Zellerbach Hall)
Power Failure-writes the libretto and performs this two Act Opera with music by Paul Dresher (prem.-American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia)
Shorebirds Atlantic-adapts for television (ALIVE FROM OFF CENTER)
No Say-revises this early work as a solo performance (prem. Intersection Theat. S.F.)
Fanfare-a very short piece he creates music for and performs with Ohad Naharin for "Serious Fun" at Lincoln Center
Secret House-writes the text and performs with Oberlin Dance Co. (prem. Zellerbach Hall)
Woman Window Square-composes the score and writes the text for the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. (prem. Crannart Center, Urbana,Ill.)
Pioneer-writing and performing in collaboration with Terry Allen, Jo Harvey Allen, John Duykers, and Paul Dresher (premiere at Spoleto Festival, Charlotte)
Considering the Stained Glass Hands-conceives, writes, composes, and directs for Diverse Works workshop in Baltimore
Finding My Way Home-composes and records an album of songs which form the basis for his new musical group The Compleat Strangers (Lee Townsend producer; released on DIW Records.)
The Compleat Strangers-band debuts in San Francisco and New York
The Gardening of Thomas D.-finishes writing and composing this work for he and Ellie Klopp. Co-directs with Melissa Weaver (prem. Hancher Aud. University of Ia., Walker Art Museum, On The Boards-Seattle)
Do The Day Over-finishes second album with The Compleat Strangers.
Awed Behavior-writes and directs this two person music-theater piece with music by Paul Dresher.
The Gates(Far Away Near)-a dance piece of The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company for which he co-writes a text with poet Michael Palmer. (Premieres at Cal Performances UC Berkeley, and Jacob's Pillow)
The Gardening of Thomas D.-completes revisions on the piece and has it translated into French by Jacqueline Kaplan for tour of France(Creteil, Mons, Strassbourg)
The Evolution of the Joke-composes the score and performs this short dance piece choreographed by Ellie Klopp and premiered at The Sunset Center in Carmel
The Finsterwald Diary - composes chamber music piece for New Performance Group (now The Sonora Ensemble)
The Idiot Variations -writes, composes, and performs this evening length solo 'garage opera' (prem. Hancher Aud.)
In June, he performs the piece in Czech at Divadlo Archa in Prague.
Four Songs Lost In a Wall - writes, composes, and performs this radio opera (comm. by New Radio and Performance)
Five or Six Dances – chamber music/theater - composes for the Sonora Ensemble (Premiere, Cornish College of the Arts)
The Idiot Variations - performs new Czech translation at Archa Theater in Prague.
Final Hour - installation/performance for Rudolfinum museum in Prague.
Seduction - conceives, writes and co-directs this two person piece for Leonard Pitt and Ruth Zaporah
Hair Blood and Vinyl - conceives, directs and co-writes this five person piece fot the Juggernaut Theater. Premieres at the New York Fringe Festival.
Story In Story Out - releases third solo CD: two narrative suites, music and text (for Intuition)
Romeo Sierra Tango - writes and performs this solo piece based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Commissioned from New York Shakespeare Festival (prem. The Public Theater, New York)
Ravenshead - writes the libretto and performs this one man two act opera with music by Steve Mackey (prem. Penn State U., State College Penn.)
Breathe Normally - writes text for this multimedia dance theater work by the Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. (prem. Columbia College, Chicago)
Navigators - a children’s opera he conceives writes, composes and directs for Opera Piccola, Oakland,CA (prem. Temescal Art Center, Oakland, CA)
A Tale We Told The Queen on the Fourth Day of Our Journey to the East... - writing and directing new work with students at the University of Iowa as Artist in Residence (prem. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA)
And God Created Great Whales - a solo opera-theater work based on Moby Dick commissioned by The Foundry Theater, NY.
The Global Vocal Meeting – Represents the West in a concert featuring singers from different parts of the globe: Senge from Madagascar, Abdoulayah Diabate from Mali, Sudha Ragunathan from India, Mitsou from Hungary and Corin Corschelas from Switzerland. Tours Germany and Sweden.
An Idiot Divine – performs two earlier works (Dry Land Divine and The Idiot Variations) together at The Culture Project in New York.
And God Created Great Whales – Remounts the piece at The Culture Project in New York
2002 – 03
Highway Ulysses – writes, composes, and performs this large work for American Repertory Theater. Based on Homer’s ‘Odyssey,’ the work involves eight actors, a chorus, and a combo of musicians. It premieres in March of 03. Receives Eliot Norton Award for Best Large Ensemble Production.
And God Created Great Whales – London premiere at The Barbican Theater
Dream House – writes the libretto (in collaboration with Steve Mackey) and sings the solo in this 48 minute ‘oratorio’ of Mackey’s. Scored for symphony orchestra, soloist, solo chorus, and guitar ensemble. Premieres in Amsterdam with the Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Synergy Vocals.
American Theater Magazine – publishes the text of Highway Ulysses in Sept. 03 issue
Sound Stage – writes and directs this concert theater work with music by Paul Dresher and the Zeitgeist ensemble.
Sandhills Reunion – writes and records the text for this spoken word/jazz CD with Jerry Granelli
Horizon – Begins writing music and text for new music theater work for a consortium of producers.
Orpheus X - begins initial sketches for American Repertory Theater
And God Created Great Whales performed at Bonn Bianale as part of the Best of New York Festival.
Horizon – performs the premiere in Oct. and Nov. at the Lied Center, The Mondavi Center, Claris Smith Center for the Arts, and Montclair State U.
Given Marc Blitzstein Memorial Award by American Academy of Arts and Letters
An Idiot Divine – solo performance at Zankel Hall/Carnegie Hall
Orpheus X - premiere performance at American Repertory Theater in March
Horizon – New York premiere at New York Theatre Workshop
Dream House – American premiere in Boston with BMOP
Orpheus X – European premiere at the Edinburgh Festival
Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition
Orpheus X – Asian premiere at Hong Kong International Theater Festival
Fate and Spinoza – writes and directs this 12 person two act play that premieres at Wright Hall, University of California, Davis
Eye Piece – Writes and directs this multi media piece premiere at University
Princeton University Atelier – with Steven Mackey
Princeton University Music Dept. – Graduate Seminar
University of California, Davis Dept. of Theater and Dance – Grenada Artist in Residence
University of Iowa Drama School – Partnership in the Arts – Artist in Residence
Workshops – Major Universities all over the US
Bachelor of Music-University of Iowa, 1973
Master of Music-Yale University, 1975
Critics Circle Award,
S.F.-Best New Theater Performance: Not For Real
Isadora Duncan Award –
Best Text and Music Score: ShelfLife
Critics Circle Award-
Best Solo Performance: Slow Fire
Academy Of Theatre Artists and Friends, Chicago
Best Production: Not For Real
Isadora Duncan Award-
Best Text and Music Score: Dry Land Divine
The Esquire Register-
Arts and Letters
Drama Desk Award Nomination
Sound Design: CSC -Therese Raquin
Drama Desk Award Nomination
And God Created Great Whales
And God Created Great Whales
Eliot Norton Award
Best Production by a Large Resident Company: Highway Ulysses
Meet The Composer Grant:
American Rep. Theater: Highway Ulysses
Marc Blitzstein Memorial Award
American Academy of Arts and Letters
Pullitzer Prize Finalist in Drama: Orpheus X
Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition
Lucille Lortel Award
Unique Theatrical Experience: Horizon
Drama Desk Award Nomination
Outstanding Play: Horizon