René Eckhardt studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, specializing in both 20th-century repertoire and chamber music. His teachers were Hans Dercksen and Geoffrey Madge. He attended lectures in musicology at the Univesity of Amsterdam. His interest goes from Haydn till today. 

American music. In 1982 when he performed the Dutch premiere of the Double Concerto by Elliott Carter as a soloist in the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam started his interest in American music. In 1984 he gave a recital in New York at the American New Music Consortium Festival. In 1986 his LP All American music was released to critical acclaim. He performed John Cage’ famous Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano by John Cage several times in concert, his complete Music of changes and the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orcestra. 
In 1995, after performing them a dozen times in concert, he recorded Charles Ives’ monumental First & Second (Concord) Piano Sonata on CD. The Dutch music magazine Luister (Listen) accorded Eckhardt an A for a "superior performance".  The Piano Sonatas were released again in 2009 by Brilliant Classics.

When the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra gave its first performance of Ives’ Fourth Symphony in 1997, René Eckhardt was invited to play the solo piano part. Furthermore he was three times soloist in the prestigious Dutch  concert series De Matinee. In 2004 Eckhardt organized a series of concerts with the Songs of Charles Ives with mezzo soprano Marion van den Akker and bariton Hans van Heiningen. 

Piano concertos. Eckhardt performed several 20th century piano concerto's, such as Lou Harrison’s Piano Concerto with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra; Islands by Luca Francesconi with the Asko|Schönberg; and Karel Goeyvaerts’ Avontuur (Adventure) with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Ličge. Eckhardt recorded Tristan Keuris’ Piano Concerto on CD with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under Lucas Vis. He regularly worked with composers from all over the world such as Jonathan Harvey, Pierre Boulez, Franco Donatoni, Mauricio Kagel and Charles Wuorinen to prepare performances of their works.

Solo programs. His tour in the Netherlands with his program Tribute with compositions of among others Messiaen, Takemitsu, Cage and Piazzolla came with the release of the CD Tribute 2000 and the book Ten Composer portraits in word and image by Saar Roelofs. The recording of Keuris' Sonata for piano (1970) on this CD is released again in 2009 as part of a CD-box with the complete works of Keuris. In his programma From Haydn till Today he played works by Haydn, Schumann and Stravinsky together with three new Dutch compositions which were dedicated to Eckhardt. In 2012 Eckhardt played all twenty four Preludes of Claude Debussy.

Dutch music. As an “ambassador of Dutch music” Eckhardt performed regularly piano works of composers living in the Netherlands. In 1993 the CD Ton de Leeuw - Chamber Music with a piano solo by René Eckhardt was awarded an Edison Classic. In 2010 Eckhardt made a recording of the complete piano works by Ton de Leeuw

Young composer Florian Maier dedicated his piano work with electronics, Luciferase, Liquid music nr. 1 (2006) to Eckhardt which he performed several times in The Netherlands and in the U.S.

Accompanying concert singers. René Eckhardt regularly accompanied concert singers, among others Marjanne Kweksilber, Lieuwe Visser, Marion van den Akker, Wilke te Brummelstroete, Jasperina de Jong en Anu Komsi. 

Het Trio. From 1982 till 2004 René Eckhardt, together with bass clarinetist Harry Sparnaay and flutist Harrie Starreveld  formed the ensemble Het Trio. Over 180 compositions have been dedicated and premiered by Het Trio by such renowned composers as Franco Donatoni, Jonathan Harvey and Theo Loevendie. Het Trio made concert tours all over the world, giving workshops and lecture-recitals. In 1997 Eckhardt got Japanse composer Maki Ishii to write an opera for Het Trio, percussion and soloist, titled Tojirareta Fune, which was performed in 1999-2000 in the Netherlands, Germany and in Tokyo.

Asko|Schönberg. From 1980 till 2012 Eckhardt was a permanent member of the ensemble Asko|Schönberg, and also coach of the Ligeti Academy of this ensemble. 

Transcriptions. René Eckhardt made several transcriptions, such as 
- For piano: Astor Piazzolla, Milonga de Angel and Libertango
For piano, flute en bass clarinet: Maurice Ravel La Valse



cd's  WITH 

Sargasso 28044, 2002

Etcetera KTC 1053, 1988 Etcetera KTC 1053, 1988

Donemus CV31, 1993

NMClassics 92068,1996


Attaca9161-4, 1991

Bridge Records BCD 901, 1989

Etcetera KCT 1381, 2009



"Extraordinarily well played solo part of René Eckhardt." 
(Biëlla Luttmer in de Volkskrant of March 10  2012 about the Concerto for prepared piano and chamber orchestra of John Cage)

'In piano solo works by Charles Ives Eckhardt shows his great passion and respect for this very original American composer.' (Eindhovens Dagblad)

'Superior performance. Intriguing modern piano works and an intimate, intensely poetic Papillons of Schumannn.' (De Leeuwarder Courant)

'Eckhardt proves that he is able to handle intimate compositions as well as the particularly complex music.' (Het Parool)

'With René Eckhardt melancholy and simplicity are in excellent hands.' (de Volkskrant)

'René Eckhardt made a precise and expressive recording as usual.' (Mens & Melodie)

'Eckhardt plays with virtuosity without forcing his personality to the front.' (De Gelderlander)

“Pianist René Eckhardt excelled in technical demand as well as perception of programming  Stravinsky’s piano works.” (Brabants Dagblad)

'A performance which left the audience during twenty minutes in a breathless admiration.' (Trouw)

'Eckhardt showed that analytical precision could go with the disclosure of spiritual dimensions.' (de Volkskrant)

"This is how modern music sounds divine!" (Oberöstereichisce Nachrichte)

'Pianist René Eckhardt gave a superb performance.' (The Houston Post)