Jason Eckardt (b. 1971) played guitar in rock and jazz 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, performance virtuosity, and self-organizing processes in the natural world. He has been recognized through commissions from Carnegie Hall, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Guggenheim Museum, the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, the Oberlin Conservatory, and percussionist Evelyn Glennie; fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, 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, Meet the Composer, and the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust for New Music; and awards from the League of Composers/ISCM (National Prize), Deutschen Musikrat-Stadt Wesel (Symposium NRW Prize), ASCAP, the University of Illinois (Martirano Prize), and Columbia University (Rapoport Prize).
Eckardt's music has been performed across four continents at major festivals including IRCAM-Resonances, ISCM World Music Days (1999, 2000), Darmstadt, Voix Nouvelles, Musik im 20. Jahrhundert, Musica Nova Sofia, Currents in Musical Thought-Seoul, New Consortium, International Review of Contemporary Music, Festival of New American Music, and the International Bartok Festival by groups such as the Group for Contemporary Music, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ensemble Expose, Earplay, the New Millennium Ensemble, the Libra Ensemble, the Auros Group for New Music, the Phantom Arts Ensemble, Firebird, Ensemble de Ereprijs, the League/ISCM Chamber Players, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society, Laboratorio NovaMusica, and Ensemble Intermodulacio. 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.
Out of Chaos, a portrait CD recorded by Ensemble 21, was recently released by Mode. Other recordings include Echoes' White Veil by pianist Marilyn Nonken on CRI, Transience by marimbist Makoto Nakura on Helicon, and Multiplicities by flutist Nancy Ruffer on Metier. Tango Clandestino will soon be recorded by pianist Amy Dissanayake.
Also active as a promoter of new music, Eckardt co-founded and serves as the Executive Director of Ensemble 21, the contemporary music performance group in New York City. Under his leadership, the critically acclaimed Ensemble has 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 master classes with Milton Babbitt, James Dillon, Brian Ferneyhough, Jonathan Harvey, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Illinois, and Rutgers University and is currently a member of the faculty at Northwestern University.