RIP Andrew Eckard

Drew Eckard plays principal cello in Bach's B-minor Mass at LCH.

Drew Eckard played principal cello in Bach’s B-minor Mass at LCH.

Andrew Eckard, cello

Andrew Eckard, cello

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.

Drew played in our B minor Mass performances.

Drew played in our B minor Mass performances.

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!

Another view of Drew playing in the B-Minor Mass.

Another view of Drew playing in the B-Minor Mass.

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
This entry was posted in Carl Crosier, Honolulu Symphony musicians, J. S. Bach, Katherine Crosier and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to RIP Andrew Eckard

  1. Timothy Carney says:

    This is such sad news. I knew Drew from our Illinois grad school days and from dozens of performances with the Symphony and at LCH. What a kind, gentle spirit, and an wonderfully talented musician. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat.

  2. John Shimko says:

    Drew was a great friend and classmate at IU Bloomington. He was a fantastic musician! I celebrate the fact that Drew was lucky enough to do what he was born to do…play the cello! I was saddened to learn of his death yesterday. My first thought upon reading of his death was that he can make music for eternity.

  3. Gregory Dubay says:

    Thank you for posting this warm tribute of Drew. I knew him since childhood, played music with him over many years, and miss him.

  4. Kurt Civilette says:

    Thank you for your post and photos of Drew. I had the privilege of working with him during two summer festivals. 20008 was a very special summer in Assisi, Italy where we played chamber music, enjoyed great food and wine, and he was so happy. I will always remember him there in those beautiful surroundings. I will never forget him. It is such a tragic loss to this world to lose him at such a young age.

  5. Karen Bart says:

    So sad to hear of Drew’s passing. He was my stand partner for several seasons with the Spokane Symphony. We had such good times…the best musical buddy a cellist could wish for.

  6. Roger Lebow says:

    Very sad news indeed, though not unexpected. I only got to know Drew in the past few years, after Honolulu went belly-up and he moved to LA. We were often stand-partners in the LA Opera pit, and besides being a fabulous player (as others have written) he was the best possible colleague: dedicated to the art, relaxed but focused, and possesed of the most deliciously vile sense of humor. At our stage of the game we’d arrived at a place where we had little use for wasted time, motion or ego–and since there’s never a shortage of this about, we always had fodder for mischief. I’m saddened that he had so little time, and much richer for having spent a little of it in his splendid company.

  7. Justin Kagan says:

    Norman, a very menschy thing you did posting this notice, thank you.

  8. Beebe Freitas says:

    Iʻm deeply saddened by the news of Dreʻs passing. He was a great asset to the Honolulu Symphony and all of the community of Honolulu. Blessings to his family.
    -beebe freitas-

  9. Beebe Freitas says:

    Of course that should have read”Drew”! Sorry!

  10. Cheryl Carney says:

    Drew, my friend. You were the best stand partner anyone could ask for. I remember so well, we would say to each other at concerts just before the Maestro came out, “we’re gonna go for this and nail it!” Love you Drew! Cheryl

  11. Janis Mercer says:

    I just read of Drew’s death in the UI alumni magazine. I had not had contact with him in 20 years but remember clearly his humor and musical playing. I treasure his recording of one of my student pieces at UI and meeting him in Newport, OR for the Bloch Festival many years ago. Thinking of his many friends, relatives and musical cohorts. J

  12. Stephen Heinsinger says:

    I just learned of Andrew’s passing today. So very sad. I was cleaning out some old concert programs from when I sang with the Oahu Choral Society back in 2001. I couldn’t remember Andrew’s last name previously, so I was glad that I found him listed under the Cello section of the program. I knew Andrew a brief while 2000-2001 from our rehearsals and performances, but also from a few times that we had hung out together. Again, so sad, especially just looking him up today after so many years. RIP Andrew!

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