Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning composer, playwright, and performer whose works have been performed in over 50 US cities, as well as in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand.
He studied music composition at Harvard University, the University of Illinois, and the University of California, San Diego, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2006. He received an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University in 2016.
He has received commissions, grants, and performances from organizations and performers such as Wet Ink, Yarn/Wire, thingNY, International Contemporary Ensemble, PopeBama, Radical2, Hand/Werk, ensemble dal niente, the La Jolla Symphony, Ensemble Surplus, Ensemble Ascolta, the NOISE quartet, sfSound, the Olympia Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble Chronophonie. His work has been presented at festivals such as Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, Lucerne, Wien Modern, Boswil, Acht Brücken, Zuricher Tage, and Rainy Days; has received grants from the American Composers' Forum, the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, and Chamber Music America; and has been released on innova and Carrier records.
In 1997, he began studying music with Chaya Czernowin and took classes in poetry from Rae Armantrout. He spent the following years inventing idiosyncratic methods for producing critical interactions of oddly integrated music and text.
His hobby, the satirical political cabaret duo the Prince Myshkins (with virtuoso guitarist, singer and lifelong collaborator Andy Gricevich), became a full-time job in 2002, once the "War on Terror" had provided an alarming overflow of material to satirize, and he began dividing his time between completing his studies and touring nationally, recording two CDs of his original political songs which have been covered and recorded by musicians across the US.
He is a founding member of the Nonsense Company, an experimental music / theater trio dedicated to new works and new venues. The Nonsense Company has performed in over 30 US cities, presenting new music and theater in unexpected combinations for a wide range of audiences. Their concert in Darmstadt in 2004 was hailed as "one of the most solid, free, and critical aesthetic propositions... of the festival." Their 2008 performance in NYC's Frigid Theater Festival was reviewed as "the must see show of the festival" and won Best Show and Audience Choice awards.
Along with Dave Malloy, Rachel Chavkin, and Alec Duffy, he received an Obie Award for creating the play "Three Pianos" at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in 2010.
From 2013-2016 he studied Playwriting (Writing for Performance) at Brown University with Erik Ehn.
He lives in Brooklyn, NY.