Jason Eckardt (b. 1971) played guitar in jazz and metal bands until, upon first hearing the music of Webern, he immediately devoted himself to composition. Since then, his music has been influenced by his interests in perceptual complexity, the physicality of performance, political activism, and self-organizing processes in the natural world. He has been recognized through commissions from Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, the Koussevitzky Foundation (2000, 2011), the Guggenheim Museum, the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University (1996, 2008), Chamber Music America, the New York State Music Fund, Meet the Composer, the Oberlin Conservatory, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie; awards from the League of Composers/ISCM (National Prize), Deutschen Musikrat-Stadt Wesel (Symposium NRW Prize), the Aaron Copland Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts, ASCAP, the University of Illinois (Martirano Prize), the Alice M. Ditson Fund, and Columbia University (Rapoport Prize); and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Fondation Royaumont, the MacDowell and Millay Colonies, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Fritz Reiner Center for Contemporary Music, the Composers Conference at Wellesley, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music. His music is published by Carl Fischer.
Major festivals have programmed his works, including the Festival d’Automne a Paris, IRCAM-Resonances, ISCM World Music Days (1999, 2000), Darmstadt, Musica Strasbourg, Voix Nouvelles, Musik im 20. Jahrhundert, Musikhost, Currents in Musical Thought-Seoul, New Consortium, International Review of Contemporary Music, Festival of New American Music, and the International Bartok Festival. Performances of Eckardt’s music have been broadcast by the BBC, Saarlandisches Rundfunk, Radio Socioculturelle, WKCR, the Australian Broadcasting Company, WBAI, and Cultura FM Espana.
Undersong, a recording featuring ‘cellist Fred Sherry, flutist Claire Chase, soprano Tony Arnold, and the International Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Steven Schick, is available on Mode. Other recordings include Strömkarl by violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Blair McMillen on Urlicht, Echoes’ White Veil by pianist Marilyn Nonken on CRI, Transience by marimbist Makoto Nakura on Helicon, Sweet Creature by percussionist Michael Lipsey on Capstone, 16 by ICE on New Focus, Multiplicities by flutist Nancy Ruffer on Metier, Tangled Loops by saxophonist Nathan Nabb on Amp, Tango Clandestino by pianist Amy Briggs on Revello, A Fractured Silence by the Prism Saxophone Quartet on Innova, and Rendition by clarinetist Jean Kopperud on Albany. Out of Chaos, also a portrait CD, recorded by Ensemble 21, was released by Mode in 2004. A new CD featuring the JACK Quartet, ICE, and soloists Tony Arnold, Jay Campbell, Jordan Dodson, and Eric Lamb will be relased by Tzadik in May 2015.
Eckardt has written on subjects ranging from cognitive research informing composition to Richard Serra’s use of process from a musical perspective. His work has appeared in Perspectives of New Music, Autour de la Set Theory in IRCAM’s Musique-Sciences series, L’etincelle, Dansk Musik Tidsskrift, Current Musicology, and a chapter in Arcana II, edited by John Zorn.
Also active as a promoter of new music, Eckardt co-founded and served as the Executive Director of Ensemble 21, the contemporary music performance group in New York City. Under his leadership, the critically acclaimed Ensemble earned a reputation for innovative programming and top-caliber performances, premiered over thirty works, and recorded for the CRI and Mode labels. In 1999, Ensemble 21 was the first American ensemble to collaborate in concert with IRCAM.
Eckardt received a doctorate in composition from Columbia University as a Presidential Fellow. In 1992, Eckardt graduated cum laude from Berklee College of Music where he was awarded the Richard Levy Scholarship. He has attended masterclasses with Milton Babbitt, James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He has taught at Columbia University, the Oberlin Conservatory, New York University, the University of Illinois, Rutgers University, and Northwestern University and is currently on the faculties of Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In the 2015-16 academic year, he will be a Visiting Professor at the Peabody Conservatory.
Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation Solo A Way [Tracing]
Part I Of Undersong
B3443 Cello Cuts
PL135 Piano Dithyramb
Movement V Of Tongues
V2496 soprano unaccompanied Echoes’ White Veil PL134 Piano Multiplicities W2646 5:00 Flute Paths Of Resistance GT215 7:30 guitar Still W2648 Alto Saxophone Unaccompanied Sweet Creature
For Bodhran Or Large Frame Drum
DRM131 3:30 Percussion Unaccompanied Transience DRM129 8:00 marimba Chamber Ensemble 16
For Flute (With B Key), Violin, Viola, Cello and Sound Diffusionist/Engineer
MXE20F 12:30 Chamber Ensemble A Fractured Silence W2649 full score, sop. sax., alto sax., tenor sax., bari. sax. A Glimpse Retraced
Piano Solo and Chamber Ensemble
MXE21F 15:00 full score A Harvest Of Thorns
For Two Guitars
GT217 two guitars After Serra
For Chamber Ensemble
MXE24F 14:30 fullscore, Flute (with B key), Bass Flute, clarinet in Bb, Bass clarinet in Bb, Violin, violonCello, Piano Aperture
Flute, Clarinet in Bb, Piano, Violin, Viola, and Violoncello
21677 19:00 Fl., Cl., Pno., Vln., Vla., Vcl.[Note: “Aperture” may be performed independently, in conjunction with “The Distance (This)”, or as part III of the “Undersong Cycle”.] Aperture
For Flute, Clarinet In Bb, Piano, Violin, Viola and Violoncello
CY3497F 19:00 Chamber Ensemble Equilibrium
Movement Iii Of Tongues
V2495 3:00 soprano voice, guitar Excelsior Ab Intra V2497 7:30 soprano voice, 2 countertenors voices, baritone voice Flux MXE28F Mixed Duet Mirror-Glass Skyscrapers V2494 full score, mezzo-soprano voice, Piano Performance V2493 mezzo-soprano voice, Piano Polarities
For Chamber Ensemble
MXE23F 21:30 Pulse-Echo MXE50 Piano Quintet Rendition W2647 Bass clarinet in Bb, Piano Strömkarl B3450 11:30 Violin, Piano Subject BE11F 16:00 String Quartet Tangled Loops
For Soprano Saxophonoe and Piano
CY3472 8:00 Soprano Saxophone with Piano Testing Against MXE22F full score The Distance (This)
Soprano and Chamber Ensemble
20283 29:30 Sop.; Fl. With B key(dbl. B.Fl.) Ob. Cl.(dbl. B.Cl.) Bsn. (dbl. Cbsn.); 1Perc.(Glock., Vib.), Pno. Vln. Vla. Vcl. Cb.with low C extension Orchestra Ruel na Coille
for Percussion Solo and Orchestra
20281 17:00 Solo Perc.; 2(Picc.) – 1(E. H.) – 3(B.Cl.) – 1Cbsn.) – 2 2 2 2; Str. Tongues 20282 28:00 Sop.; Flute(dbl. Picc.) Cl. Guit. Vla. 1Perc. Trespass
for Chamber Orchestra
20284 15 1(Picc., A.Fl.) 1(E.H.) 1(B.Cl.) 1(Cbsn.) – 1 0 0 0: Perc. Pno.(Glass Chimes) Hp.(Glass Chimes); Violin 1, Violin 2, Viola, Cello, Bass(Glass Chimes)
…a virtuosic explosion of gasps, hiccups, cackles, and inhalations…
–Bruce Hodges, Seen & Heard International
for Solo Cello
…begins with short, minimal gestures — plucked tones, rustling sounds, barely audible sustained tones, bow scrapes — separated by daring silences. Slowly, the gestures coalesce into segments, phrases and, eventually, near-frenzied episodes.
–Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
…an exceptionally intimate work, with ghostly random occurrences amidst lacunas of silence, before a burning bass note, a smudged cluster, a nervous slide, and a self-conscious tremolo escalated into an explosion of telegraphed sounds from another universe. Eckardt used silence as a key component, causing breath-taking tension in the omnipresent plucky pointillistic fulminations. The final sound was simply a nonchalant short slide off a small cliff.
–Alexandra Ivanoff, Today’s Zaman
for Solo Flute
…techniques give way to fragments of more traditional sounds, charting a progression from muzzled expression toward liberation. It’s in such juxtapositions of extended technique and conventional playing that unorthodox sounds can feel especially meaningful.
–Corinna de Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times
[“Wild Ginger”] aped its floral subject evocatively, with a mystery that seemed to unravel as it fluttered in [Rebekah] Heller’s breathy, floating lines.
–David Allen, The New York Times
A COMPENDIUM OF CATSKILL NATIVE BOTANICALS, FROM BOOK 2: “ATHRIUM FILIX-FEMINA: LADY FERN”
ArpaViva (S001); April 10, 2017
Performer(s): Victoria Jordanova, harp
Work(s): Athrium filix-femina: Lady Fern
Tzadik (TZ 9006); May 1, 2015
Performer(s): JACK Quartet
MIRANDA CUCKSON AND BLAIR MCMILLEN
Urlicht Audiovisual (UAV-5989); February 10, 2014
Performer(s): Miranda Cuckson, violin, Blair McMillen, piano
for Piano QuintetReul na Coille
for Percussion Solo and OrchestraThe Distance (This)
for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble