September 5, 2018

The School of the Arts welcomes eight new faculty members, and has promoted three to assistant professor. And at the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, an affiliated faculty member becomes a scholar-in-residence. 

Rinde Eckert, visiting faculty, Waldman Professor in Theatre Arts

Will teach: devised theatre

Eckert is an award-winning interdisciplinary performer, writer, and director. In 2012, he was named an inaugural Doris Duke Artist, and won a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance as a collaborator on the album Lonely Motel (Cedille Records). In 2009, he received the Alpert Award in the Arts for Theatre, and was a Finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007.

In Fall 2018, Eckert will teach a course at Emerson in devised theatre, in which students will collaboratively devise an original ensemble performance that will be produced during Emerson Stage’s Spring 2019 season. He has previously taught at Princeton University, the University of California, Davis; and the University of Iowa.

ECT: What do you most look forward to teaching students?

RE: I enjoy the variety of talents and sensibilities students bring into the room. I was able to teach a class last spring in order to get to know what Emerson students are like. I found them warm, intelligent, and engaged. So I’m excited to begin this journey with them…

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.

Grammy-Award Winner Rinde Eckert's TIME IS OUR OWN Premieres At Billboard

BWW MusicWorld.com
Music News Desk
August 23, 2018

Grammy-award winning composer, musician, performer, writer and director Rinde Eckert's new single "Time is Our Own" premieres at Billboard with a feature interview. Read the interview/share the track HERE. The single appears on Eckert's most personal album to date, The Natural World, out August 24 via National Sawdust Tracks.

In support of The Natural World, Eckert will perform at National Sawdust in New York City on August 26. To purchase tickets click HERE.

Having collaborated on numerous highly acclaimed recordings over the course of his varied and celebrated career, The Natural World marks Eckert's first completely solo album, in that all vocals and instruments (including guitars, piano, electronic keyboards/samples, accordion, South American wood flute, hand percussion, tenor banjo, dobro ukulele, banjo ukulele, shruti box and penny whistle) are provided by Eckert himself. Following a two-month, cross-country journey playing solo concerts, he entered the studio with longtime collaborator and producer Lee Townsend (Bill Frisell, John Scofield, Kelly Joe Phelps) and created a record that explores where the classical meets the vernacular and the earthly meets the spiritual-all with an eye toward offering empathy and vision in polarized times.

Grammy-award winner Rinde Eckert’s “Time is Our Own” premieres at Billboard—album out tomorrow, August 24

Rock NYC
Written by admin
August 23, 2018

“…[Eckert] finds vivifying parallels between the theological quest of one man and the theatrical quest to capture and illuminate life.”—The New York Times

“Eckert is incomparable in making the mind matter in modern opera and performance art…”—Los Angeles Times

“His resonant, magnetic voice is even more flexible, soaring in a sweet tenor or angelic falsetto…”—San Francisco Chronicle

Grammy-award winning composer, musician, performer, writer and director Rinde Eckert’s new single “Time is Our Own” premieres at Billboard with a feature interview. Read the interview/share the track HERE. The single appears on Eckert’s most personal album to date, The Natural World, out August 24 via National Sawdust Tracks.

In support of The Natural World, Eckert will perform at National Sawdust in New York City on August 26. To purchase tickets click HERE.

Rinde Eckert Premieres 'Time Is Our Own' From One-Man Band Album 'The Natural World'

By Gary Graff
August 23, 2018

Rinde Eckert has a long and distinguished career on the stage and in the studio, which has included a slew of awards, including a Grammy, and collaborations with the Kronos quartet, Brian Eno and opera soprano Renee Fleming. Now Eckert is stepping out on his own with his first ever truly solo album, The Natural World, whose "Time Is Our Own" premieres exclusively below.

"I just never felt like I was ready to do it -- and then I was," Eckert tells Billboard. His longtime collaborator and The Natural World producer Lee Townsend had been pushing him in this direction for a while, Eckert says, and winning the inaugural Doris Duke Artist Award, which included "a lot of money" earmarked for "audience development" helped provide an impetus for the project.

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.

Review: ‘Iron & Coal’ at Strathmore

DC Metro Theater Arts
By John Stolenberg
May 5, 2018

The sheer magnitude of the concert event was enough to inspire wonder and awe. More than 200 musicians packed the Strathmore stage and a balcony above—two orchestras, three choirs, a rock band—plus animated projections on a widescreen scrim and a stadium-scale light plot flooding the hall. For two nights only, Jeremy Schonfeld’s 2011 rock concept album Iron & Coal got mega-sized. The effect was gloriously spectacular and overwhelmingly beautiful—and also dramatically not quite focused.

Composer/lyricist Schonfeld created Iron & Coal as a tribute to his German Jewish father, Gustav Schonfeld, whose story is gripping: At the age of 10 he was sent to Auschwitz and survived along with his father until liberation. Then, reunited a year later with his mother, who also survived, Gustav grew up in the United States and became a renowned medical doctor, much lauded in his lifetime. (He died in 2011 on the very day his son’s Iron & Coal was mastered.) Portions of his autobiography, titled Absence of Closure, were incorporated into the concert program. He was “the first refuge kid from war to be bar mizvahed” at his synagogue in St. Louis (“The boy who lost his childhood becomes a man today”). He tells vividly of his post-traumatic nightmares. The snippets from Gustav’s memoir make one want to read more.

Review: My Lai massacre, 50 years later: Jonathan Berger's opera captures the madness


MARCH 11, 2018

"Where in God's name is the medic?" the dying hospital patient demands. He's not asking for help for himself. He's frantically trying to save a boy's life. It's a scream, one of the important screams in American history, that has haunted him for 38 years.

Jonathan Berger's opera "My Lai" — written for the Kronos Quartet, tenor Rinde Eckert and Vân-Ánh Võ, a virtuoso player of traditional Vietnamese instruments — takes place during the last hallucinatory days of Hugh Thompson Jr. He was the U.S. Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War who flew over the massacre in My Lai. Above the fray, he could see the mass hysteria below that warped the minds of Charlie Company. Those men were infamously commanded to wipe out everything walking, crawling or growing. More than 500 civilians, mostly women, children and the elderly, were slaughtered. There was no evidence of Viet Cong activity.

Review: Kronos Quartet Revisits Vietnam Horror in ‘My Lai’

By James R. Oestreich
September. 28, 2017
The New York Times

You would like to think that a soldier who took a heroic stand against evil and managed to save at least a few lives amid a massacre could find peace of mind in his dying days. The creators of “My Lai,” a musical theater work given its premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Wednesday evening, suggest otherwise in the case of Hugh Thompson.

Vietnam is much in the air at the moment, thanks to the PBS documentary series “The Vietnam War,” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. But as comprehensive as that survey is, it gives surprisingly cursory treatment to the massacre of more than 500 Vietnamese civilians by American troops in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. When it finally came to light, in November 1969, that mass killing proved pivotal in marshaling American fatigue and disgust with the war, which finally led to the withdrawal of troops in 1973.