"As music has been reduced to nothing more than noise and nothingness, we have the opportunity to reconstruct it in our own image."
In our post-modern, hyper-connected, multi-media age, I believe that, as an artist, I have the opportunity and obligation to create honest and intimate works that speak directly to patrons of the arts on multiple levels. To this end, my work explores the intersection of music (our most primal artistic instinct) and design (the practice of developing solutions to problems). Often these explorations also intersect with language and performance. An active observer of contemporary society and current events, my work strives to make sense of the modern human condition by musically translating objects generally perceived to be non-lyrical: found prose, graphic design standards, computer programming languages, scientific theorems, mathematical formulas, ephemeral advertising, and tactile response. This expanded approach to music making through design thinking is inherently cross-genre and has resulted in concepts that incorporate disciplines as varied as opera, art song, 2D art, installation, instrumental music, musique concrete, text based work, conceptual art, fontography, performance art, designed environments, soft design, papercraft, and video.
For Chicago-based artist Eric Reda, all things are music. His synesthetic response to the sounds of everyday life explores the intersection of music with language, performance and design. Often appropriating the flotsam and jetsam of our mass media age, he has produced acoustic and electro-acoustic music, including opera, dramatic incidental music, orchestral works, instrumental and vocal chamber music, choral music, and musique concrete. Distinctly American and consciously accessible, his works often incorporate found texts and deconstructed aural samples in order to create soundscapes that are both familiar and unexpected. A restless artistic experimenter, Eric freely explores how music intersects and informs a wide variety of other mediums, including theater, design, art, essays, plays, photos, digital, and ephemera.
Eric was the founding Artistic Director of Chicago Opera Vanguard which produced from 2006-2013. Starting from opera’s original meaning as “a work”, COV is dedicated to creating accessible and immersive theatrical experiences that explore and challenge this centuries-old form.
His opera-oratorio REAGAN’S CHILDREN was workshopped in collaboration with COV and around the Coyote Festival 2006-2008, had a concert reading in 2008 at Martyrs’ Pub, and received its world staging premiere at Northwestern University in May of 2009.
His second opera, THE SUITCASE OPERA, a collaboration with solo performance artist David Kodeski, was workshopped at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 2011, and received a 3 night series of concerts on the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in November 2012.
Eric's song "ATRIPLA", setting to music the warning label of an HIV medication, was written for the Chicago AIDS Quilt Songbook in 2009. It was included in the 2012 20th Anniversary edition of the AIDS Quilt Songbook at Cooper Union in New York City, and the 22nd Anniversary AQSB concert in New York City on November 14, 2014. Additonally, the song has been performed in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Mexico City, among other locations.
ATRIPLA is performed by Jaime Barton on the new album An AIDS Quilt Songbook: Sing for Hope on Roven Records distributed by Naxos. In reviewing this album, "ATRIPLA!" is named as "my very favorite track" by The Huffington Post's David Browning, and a "virtuosic setting" by Judith Malafronte in Opera News Magazine.
Currently, Eric is developing follow-up pieces to "ATRIPLA!" with sociologist Dr. Jason Orne and lobbyist Sam Brinton, working with David Kodeski to find a staging opportunity for THE SUITCASE OPERA, adapting his play EQUINOX into a 2 man chamber opera, developing an opera with Playwright Philip Dawkins entitled THE PASSION OF JOSEPH SMITH concerning the final two weeks of Joseph Smith’s life, and completing a number of art songs for singers in Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and New York City. As well, he is working on several musical installations intended for arts festival and gallery settings.
Eric studied Music Composition at Arizona State University with Chinary Ung, James DeMars, Randall Shinn and Rodney Rogers. He has had the honor of participating in masterclasses with Philip Glass, Joan Tower, Tobias Picker, Anthony Braxton, Libby Larson, Brent Michael Davids, and Geoffrey Bush.
Additionally, he participated in the West Coast premiere of composer Meredith Monk and video artist Ann Hamilton’s theatre piece Mercy, and the American premiere of choreographer Pina Bausch’s epic music theatre piece, Nur Du.