Word has been received that Andrew Eckard has lost his battle with a brain tumor. From the time he joined the Honolulu Symphony in 1996 as Associate Principal Cellist, Drew was also a member of the Bach Chamber Orchestra and played for nearly all of our performances. The last one was in May 2011 when he returned from Los Angeles to play principal cello in the Lutheran Church of Honolulu’s performances of Bach’s “Mass in B Minor.”
Drew Eckard was a native of Portland, Oregon. He began piano studies at age 8 and cello studies at age 10. When he was 14 he was featured as a concerto soloist with the Oregon Symphony. He attended Indiana University and the University of Illinois where he studied with Janos Starker and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Upon graduation he joined the Spokane Symphony, was on the faculty of Oregon State University in Corvallis and afterwards was Principal Cellist of the New York City Opera National Company until he joined the Honolulu Symphony as Associate Principal Cellist in 1996. He left Hawaii to pursue freelance work in Los Angeles when the Honolulu Symphony declared bankruptcy.
From Carl Crosier: I was deeply saddened to hear of Drew’s death. He was a special friend and colleague for whom I had the greatest love and respect. I think of the many concerts and services that he played for us at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, whether as an extremely sensitive and informed continuo player, or as a brilliant soloist. His performances of two of the Bach cello suites will always remain in my memory, as well as the countless Bach cantatas and other Baroque works we performed together on a regular basis. I was particularly touched by his willingness to return to Honolulu to perform the Bach B minor Mass on the occasion of my final concert at LCH before I retired. You can hear him speak of it in a radio interview with Noe Tanigawa from May 2011. I also consider it a great privilege to have performed the Beethoven A major cello sonata with him shortly before he relocated to California. I have been missing him greatly for some time and can’t thank him enough for sharing so many memorable musical and social times with me and Kathy. May he rest in peace. His was truly a life well lived.
Drew, we will miss you!