Jason Eckardt, composer

Photo of Jason Eckardt with a dog

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 physical and psychological dimensions of performance, political activism, and the natural world. He has been recognized through commissions from Carnegie Hall, Tanglewood, the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, the Guggenheim Museum, Meet the Composer, and the Oberlin Conservatory and awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Eckardt's music has been performed at major festivals including the Festival d'Automne a Paris, IRCAM-Resonances, Tanglewood, ISCM World Music Days, Darmstadt, and Musica Strasbourg and appeared on several recordings including three portrait albums on Mode and Tzadik. Eckardt teaches composition at City University of New York’s Graduate Center and Brooklyn College and lives in the Catskill Mountains.

Jason Eckardt's piece Cycles premiered with the Grossman Ensemble on May 19, 2023.


Program notes: 

So much of our lives, perhaps all, are part of cycles. The recurrence of events or the restarting of processes have much to do with our making sense of the world and navigating within it. Personal and professional schedules, seasons, and lifespans enable us to predict, plan, and thrive as well as, in some cases, come to terms with that which is beyond our control. In the natural world, for example, life depends on death: decaying plants provide nutrients to those that will germinate and grow in another cycle. To my knowledge, the only life that can continue indefinitely is cancerous tissue. PROGRAM NOTES & BIOGRAPHIES May 2023 | 7 While the cycles in my composition are often obscured by perpetual variations, evolutions, and overlaps of the material, the sense of return they provide marks the initiation of new cycles, never exhausting their potential to create more and suggesting their continuation beyond the work’s conclusion. I am extremely grateful to Tim Weiss and the Grossman Ensemble for their generous collaboration on my piece; Phil Pierick, Lara Madden, and Ryan Garvey for their invaluable support throughout the process; and Gusty Thomas for her commitment to a visionary new way of creating music.

Grossman Ensemble premieres David Eckardt's "Cycles"