Eckert, Rinde, American avant-garde vocalist, librettist, and composer; b. Mankato, Minn., Sept. 20, 1951. He studied at the Univ. of Iowa (B.M., 1973) and Yale Univ. (M.M., 1975), then was on the faculty of the Cornish Inst. (1980–82) and resident stage director of the Cornish Opera Theater. Since 1980 he has worked primarily with the composer Paul Dresher, and is principal performer and collaborator on their American opera trilogy (Slow Fire [1985–88], Power Failure , and Pioneers). He was also principal performer and collaborator on the How Trilogy with George Coates Performance Works (The Way of How , are are , and Seehear ; music by Dresher). Other works with Dresher include Was Are/Will Be (1983–85), Shelf Life (1987, with choreographer Margaret Jenkins), and Secret House (1990, with the Oberlin Dance Collective). His intense vocal style indicates both classical and rock training; his libretti are complex explorations, drenched with verbal paradox, of the pressure and instability of contemporary life. Among his own musical compositions are a radio opera, Shoot the Moving Things (1987), Shorebirds Atlantic for Voice, Harmonica, and Tape (1987), and Dry Land Divine for Voice, Accor-dion, Harmonica, and Electronics (1988).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire