Jason Eckardt

  • 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
    B3443 A Way [Tracing]
    Part I Of Undersong
    B3443 6:00 Cello
    PL135 Cuts
    For Piano
    PL135 4:00 Piano
    V2496 Dithyramb
    (Movement V of Tongues)
    V2496 5:00 Soprano Unaccompanied
    PL134 Echoes’ White Veil
    For Piano
    PL134 11:00 Piano
    W2646 Multiplicities
    for Flute Solo
    W2646 5:00 Flute
    GT215 Paths Of Resistance
    For Solo Guitar
    GT215 7:30 Guitar
    W2648 Still
    For Baritone Saxophone Solo
    W2648 12:00 Baritone Saxophone in Eb
    DRM131 Sweet Creature
    For Bodhran Or Other Large Frame Drum
    DRM131 3:30 Percussion Unaccompanied
    DRM129 Transience DRM129 8:00 Marimba
    Chamber Ensemble
    MXE20F 16
    For Flute (With B Key), Violin, Viola, Cello and Sound Diffusionist/Engineer
    MXE20F 12:30 Chamber Ensemble
    W2649 A Fractured Silence W2649 1:00 Saxophone Quartet
    MXE21F A Glimpse Retraced
    Piano Solo and Chamber Ensemble
    MXE21F 15:00 Chamber Ensemble
    GT217 A Harvest Of Thorns
    For Two Guitars
    GT217 9:00 Guitar Duet
    MXE24F After Serra
    For Chamber Ensemble
    MXE24F 14:30 Chamber Ensemble
    21677 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”.]
    V2495 Equilibrium
    (Movement III of Tongues)
    V2495 3:00 Soprano, Guitar
    V2497 Excelsior Ab Intra V2497 7:30 Vocal Ensemble
    MXE28F Flux
    for Alto Flute and Violoncello
    MXE28F 6:00 Mixed Duet
    V2494 Mirror-Glass Skyscrapers
    For Mezzo-soprano Voice And Piano
    V2494 3:30 Voice and Piano
    V2493 Performance
    For Mezzo-soprano Voice And Piano
    V2493 4:00 Voice and Piano
    MXE23F Polarities
    For Chamber Ensemble
    MXE23F 25:00 Chamber Ensemble
    MXE50 Pulse-Echo MXE50 20:00 Piano Quintet
    W2647 Rendition
    For Bass Clarinet in Bb and Piano
    W2647 7:00 Bass Clarinet with Piano
    B3450 Strömkarl B3450 11:30 Violin, Piano
    BE11F Subject BE11F 16:00 String Quartet
    CY3472 Tangled Loops
    For Soprano Saxophonoe and Piano
    CY3472 8:00 Soprano Saxophone with Piano
    MXE22M Testing Against
    For Flute (Piccolo, Alto Flute), Bb Clarinet (Bass Clarinet), Piano, Violin, Viola, and Violocello
    MXE22M 12:30 Chamber Ensemble
    20283 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
    20281 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.
    20282 Tongues 20282 28:00 Sop.; Flute(dbl. Picc.) Cl. Guit. Vla. 1Perc.
    20284 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)

    for Soprano
    …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

    ArpaViva (S001); April 10, 2017
    Performer(s): Victoria Jordanova, harp
    Work(s): Athrium filix-femina: Lady Fern
    Subject SUBJECT
    Tzadik (TZ 9006); May 1, 2015
    Performer(s): JACK Quartet; Tony Arnold, soprano, International Contemporary Ensemble, David Fulmer, conductor; Marilyn Nonken, piano, Oberlin Contemporary Ensemble, Timothy Weiss, conductor; Jordan Dodson, guitar,…
    Work(s): Flux
    Paths of Resistance
    Miranda Cuckson and Blair McMillen MIRANDA CUCKSON AND BLAIR MCMILLEN
    Urlicht Audiovisual (UAV-5989); February 10, 2014
    Performer(s): Miranda Cuckson, violin, Blair McMillen, piano
    Work(s): Strömkarl
    Undersong UNDERSONG
    Mode Records (234); July 26, 2011
    Performer(s): Fred Sherry, cello, Claire Chase, flute, Tony Arnold, soprano, International Contemporary Ensemble, Steven Schick, conductor
    Work(s): 16
    A Way [Tracing]
    The Distance (This)
    Extreme Measures EXTREME MEASURES
    Albany Records (TROY1217); September 1, 2010
    Performer(s): Jean Kopperud, clarinet, Stephen Gosling, piano
    Work(s): Rendition
    Out of Chaos OUT OF CHAOS
    Mode Records (137); June 29, 2004
    Performer(s): Ensemble 21, Jeffrey Milarsky, conductor; Taimur Sullivan, soprano saxophone, Marilyn Nonken, piano
    Work(s): A Glimpse Retraced
    After Serra
    Tangled Loops

  • Pulse-Echo
    for Piano Quintet
    Reul na Coille
    for Percussion Solo and Orchestra
    The Distance (This)
    for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble