Rick Burkhardt
Catalog Number: 
#1 086
new classical
new music
Release Date: 
Oct 28, 2022
1 CD
Rick Burkhardt: PassoveriTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Passover: A02:44$0.99
2.Passover: Movement I05:26$0.99
3.Passover: B01:38$0.99
4.Passover: Movement II06:38$0.99
5.Passover: C03:17$0.99
6.Passover: Movement III09:15$0.99
7.Passover: D04:42$0.99
8.Passover: Movement IV07:39$0.99
9.Passover: Movement V11:22
10.Passover: E02:46$0.99
One Sheet: 

Passover is a new album documenting ensemble thingNY’s performance of composer-writer Rick Burkhardt’s piece of the same name, in which a sextet of speaking instrumentalists, seated around a dinner table with a double bass lying on it, take turns relating stories of escape.

The album marks the first time in a decade that a recording of Burkhardt’s remarkable compositions have been released, and the first time ever that one of his extended compositions has been released on an album. Burkhardt is an Obie award winner known for his intricate chamber pieces like Great Hymn of Thanksgiving and musically centered theatrical works like Three Pianos. His work fuses explorations of extended instrumental technique as in Helmut Lachenmann, use of compositional linguistics influenced by Kenneth Gaburo, an ear for American speech akin to Robert Ashley, and an experimental approach to narrative inspired by his favorite innovative playwrights, Adrienne Kennedy, David Greenspan, and Wallace Shawn.

Though thingNY are best known for creating their own musically focused multi-media pieces, Passover marks the first time the group commissioned another artist to create an evening-length piece for them to perform. Given Burkhardt’s precision with language, instrumental technique, and gesture, it has been a natural and fruitful fit. thingNY premiered the piece in 2018 and performed it across the Northeastern US, recording it in 2019.

The flow of Passover is loosely based on a Passover seder, in which celebrants recount and embody the Jews’ exodus from Egypt. Each of the five movements in the piece recalls such an exodus, from an emotionally difficult conversation in Movement 1 to the life-threatening traffic stop in Movement 5. The piece nods to Passover traditions like that of four children asking questions of the adults - in Movement 3, Jeffrey Young’s narrative about navigating an ethically dubious job is constantly interrupted by tangential inquiries from the rest of the group.

Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning composer, playwright, director, and performer whose original music theater pieces have been performed in over 40 U.S. cities, as well as in Australia, Europe, Taiwan, Canada, and Mexico. He studied Music Composition (PhD 2006) at the University of California, San Diego, with Chaya Czernowin, and playwriting (MFA 2016) at Brown University with Erik Ehn. His plays have been produced by organizations such as New York Theater Workshop, the American Repertory Theater, P. S. 122, LaMama NYC, and River-to-River NYC, as well as numerous U.S. and international festivals, and published by New York Theater Experience. As a songwriter, he has shared stages with artists such as Pete Seeger, the Indigo Girls, Holly Near, and Utah Phillips, and his original songs have been featured on radio programs like NPR's "Morning Edition" and Pacifica's "Democracy Now." As playwright and composer, he has collaborated with theater makers including Lisa D'Amour, Anne Washburn, Erin Courtney, Kristin Kosmas, Dave Malloy, Sylvan Oswald, and Rachel Chavkin. In addition to workshops across the US and in Europe, he has taught full courses in playwriting at Brown University, in music composition at Harvard University, and in music theater at the Evergreen State College.


thingNY is a collective of New York composer-performers who fuse electronic and acoustic chamber music with new opera, improvisation, theater, text, song, and installation. Founded in 2006, thingNY performs experimental sound works created collaboratively by the core ensemble - Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Jeffrey Young, Gelsey Bell, Dave Ruder, and Andrew Livingston - and by adventurous composers such as Jennifer Walshe, Robert Ashley, Rick Burkhardt, Pauline Oliveros, Miguel Frasconi, Vinko Globokar, John Cage, Julius Eastman, Jessie Marino, and Andrea La Rose.

The musicians of thingNY are a prolific bunch. They’ve collaboratively created four operas: their latest, This Takes Place Close By, explores the reactions of isolated individuals in the wake of a devastating storm, and was hailed as "blackly amusing, sonically rich" by NY Music Daily. It premiered September 2015 at The Knockdown Center, a 50,000 square-foot space in Maspeth, Queens, and toured to Philadelphia, Boston, New Haven, Edmonton and Calgary during its production. Their first opera, ADDDDDDDDD, premiered in 2009 and was released on CD in 2010 with a comic-book libretto, and has been called “an arresting hour-long gobstopper” by the New Yorker.  In 2011, thingNY collaborated with Panoply Performance Laboratory to create Time: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts, accompanied by a 250-page hardcover book. Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: an Opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young, a 30-minute, politically-charged, theatrical work, has toured across the country since 2011 and was released as an album with accompanying campaign buttons in 2018 on Gold Bolus Recordings.




"Passover is a multi-dimensional work that will dazzle enthusiasts of ergodic literature (think House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski or S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams) and likewise encourages multiple listens to reveal all its secrets. I came away from this album thinking about moments of exodus in my own life, both mundane and remarkable, and their impact on the people in my life. Our departures from conversations, from relationships, from life itself — each exodus sends ripples of change across our communities, and in turn, we are transformed by the departures of others." [FULL ARTICLE] - TRISTAN MCKAY



"It’s not always easy listening, but the mix of instrumental and verbal virtuosity with the composer’s gift for storytelling makes this all something quite special." [FULL ARTICLE] - Peter Margasak