“I first heard Rinde Eckert wandering through a dinner event as a performance artist, singing and playing the accordion, and I was mesmerized. I admire artists who push the envelope, and Rinde merges gesture, language, and song in utterly original ways. I think his audiences experience something similar to what people must have felt centuries ago when the very first operas were created.”
— Reneé Fleming
Rinde Eckert is one of true pioneers of multi-disciplinary performance: a consummate musician who combines extraordinary vocal virtuosity with an athlete's physical prowess, a slapstick comic's theatrical vulnerability and a philosopher's understanding of human complexity. His performance defies all traditional notions of the boundaries between music, movement and theater.
They don't disappear, the fools I've created, the losers with big ideas, big voices, hanging out in their narrow rooms, dreaming, dancing, contemplating the world as if they were the philosopher kings, the happy geniuses of their households. They burrow into my psyche and wait, patiently until they're called, asked to sing again, asked to play the ukelele, the slide guitar, the accordion. Asked to remember something, speak some truth, mourn. ponder, or stop the world from spinning for a second so we can all catch up. I love these fools, tender hearted and fierce, observant and silly, tragic and mighty. I love them for their strangeness, their wisdom, and their vulnerability. They embarrass me in the best way imaginable. They humble me. They insist I keep looking at the shapes and shadows: better selves, worse selves, broken selves, saved selves. My life is a blessing of holy fools. They guide me home on the darkest nights. - Rinde Eckert, 2016
This performance kicks off a year-long collaborative creation of theatre, music and visual art reflecting southern Maine's rich natural and human history. Begin the journey here, September 3 at 8 p.m. with Rinde Eckert. Corthell Concert Hall, USM Gorham campus. Free. Tickets are available at the Music Box Office, www.usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice, and at the door.
RINDE ECKERT is a writer, composer, librettist, musician, performer and director. His Opera / New Music Theatre productions have toured throughout America and to major theater festivals in Europe and Asia. With a virtuosic command of gesture, language and song, this total theatre artist moves beyond the boundaries of what a 'play," a 'dance piece,' an 'opera' or 'musical' might be, in the service of grappling with complex issues. Eckert describes many of his characters as "little men with big ideas whose consequences of their hubris are often disastrous." Sometimes tragic and austere, sometimes broadly comedic, entirely grounded by presence, his work is alchemical: moving from rumination and distillation to hard-won illumination, or its lack.
The performance of Rinde Eckert's "My Fools: A Life in Song" is made possible through a generous performing artist award from the Doris Duke Foundation, and by the Libra Professorship at USM. Rinde Eckert is represented by Susan Endrizzi Morris, California Artists Management. Photography by Eva Mueller.
Members of the press and those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, firstname.lastname@example.org. Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.