An eclectic combination of the arts

In Arts & Entertainment, Theater & Arts
Courtesy of the Music Department
Courtesy of the Music Department

When it comes to pinpointing the exact phrase that describes works done by an artist or performer, Rinde Eckert can make this a difficult task.

Eckert’s artistic versatility can be considered a cultivation of a musical, play and/or opera.

Expect Eckert to combine more than just one of his theatrical methods in his upcoming solo performance, Becoming Unusual … The Education of an Eclectic at Cal State Fullerton’s New Music Festival.

Director of the annual New Music Festival, Pamela Madsen, Ph.D., named “Voice in the 21st Century” as this year’s theme.

The New Music Festival, celebrating its 12th anniversary, focuses on composers who can sing, which fits perfectly within Eckert’s realm of expertise.

The performance will be held at the Meng Concert Hall. Madsen believes the hall’s lighting and room capacity will showcase Eckert’s performance to its fullest potential.

Eckert, a Grammy award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, describes his career as 30 years worth of  “fiercely interdisciplinary” projects.

Many of these projects’ inspiration stems from other existing narratives, such as Moby Dick and The Divine Comedy.

Becoming … Unusual: The Education of an Eclectic draws from Eckert’s artistic experiences and older inspirations.

“Lately I’ve been trying to disrupt the axiomatic narratives that run me, hoping to dislodge the more ungenerous inhabitants of my psyche. A look at the roads taken was in order,” Eckert said.

Eckert will not only use a heavy array of performance techniques to communicate his story on stage, but will also utilize an equally wide spectrum of life inspirations.

Eckert said students can expect to hear, “songs my father sang when I was a kid, some songs from my classical education, a folk song or two from my coffee house days, songs and monologues from early pieces, more recent pieces and pieces I’m working on now.”

The performance will not only be unique in what is performed and executed, but also in how Eckert approaches each piece.

“It’s an evolving concert. No two of them will be the same … I like to keep it open. I sometimes perform songs I had no intention of performing. So, each performance is unique,” Eckert said.

Another interesting aspect to the performance will be Eckert’s use of film during the performance, which he says will be a collage of some of his wilder moments in theater.

Next year’s New Music Festival will borrow Eckert’s idea of incorporating multimedia within the performance.

Madsen and the rest of the performers from this year’s festival are set to elect which performers they think would best fit within that theme.

Becoming Unusual … The Education of an Eclectic required Eckert to take an introspective look at his life’s work.

Eckert said that he expected to feel nostalgic during it’s creation. However, this was not the case.

“It’s been great to look back and see how far I’ve come from where I started, and yet how close I am to how I used to be. Turns out I’m living that history,” said Eckert.

Eckert hopes the audience becomes surprised and engaged by its strangeness, and leaves the performance understanding the beauty of becoming lost in oneself.

Eckert’s performance Becoming Unusual … The Education of an Eclectic can be seen at the Clayes Performing Arts Center Saturday at 8 p.m.

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