Rinde Eckert

Born in 1951 and raised in Iowa to parents who were opera singers, Rinde Eckert grew up loving the sound of soprano Renata Tebaldi singing Puccini before he picked up a guitar during the folk boom of the mid-’60s, having fallen for such sounds as Scottish folk singer Jean Redpath singing “Auld Lang Syne” and “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” After a graduate degree in classical voice from Yale University, Rinde traced an eclectic path through the ‘80s into the 21st century, recording venturesome albums flecked with jazz and electronics before working with the likes of the New York Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, top new-music groups, and dance companies. He won a Grammy Award in 2012 for his recording with composer-guitarist Steven Mackey and leading-edge ensemble Eighth Blackbird of Lonely Motel—Music from Slide, for which he also wrote the lyrics. Above all, Rinde has excelled as a man of the theater—as a writer, composer, actor, and singer, creating a series of award-winning interdisciplinary works, including And God Created Great Whales (an Obie winner in 2000) and Orpheus X (a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2007). Along with appearing recently at The Kennedy Center in Renée Fleming’s “American Voices” series, Rinde has performed Off-Broadway and beyond in his own creation, Aging Magician, as well as toured internationally with his current collaboration with the Kronos Quartet, in Jonathan Berger’s My Lai. It was after winning the coveted Doris Duke Performing Artist Award that Rinde crafted a set of songs called The Natural World and then brought them to life on a cross-country solo tour in 2016 that saw him accompany himself on a menagerie of instruments: various guitars, piano, electronic keyboards (with samples), accordion, South American wood flute, hand percussion, tenor banjo, dobro ukulele, banjo ukulele, shruti box, penny whistle.