composer &  performer experimental instruments sound designer articles &  reviews discography bio and 

Eric in his studio   SOUND DESIGN
  theater, dance, performance, radio

I began composing music and designing sound for theater, radio, film and video in the early 1980s. My projects manifest in a wide range of forms, as live performance accompaniment or pre-recorded compositions, or often both in combination. I use a wide range of audio technologies: radio broadcasts, environmental sounds, digital and analog processing; invented instruments; amplified objects; invented instruments; voice, sampled and synthesized sounds, my own software, and traditional instrumentation. Some theater sound projects have bordered on sound installations. Others blur and merge conventional distinctions between my roles as DJ, foley sound effects artist, composer, engineer, and instrumentalist. Occasionally, I join the acting cast or dancers in the performance as conceived and directed.


The audio technologies I frequently use are the trailing-edge ones that refuse to become obsolete: a Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer, Oberheim Echoplex Digital Pro, an AM/FM pocket radio, contact microphones, and a few guitar effects pedals. The Springboard, my self-built instrument, remains my main instrument. It enables me to make a wide variety of compelling sounds and music unlike any others. The making of one's own tools for sound-making-as-art seems to be the best way to equip one's self to face the challenges of finding ways to create, and to make innovative sonic art, design and music in a wide variety of contexts.


My theater, radio, film and video projects have been seen and heard in performances and broadcasts throughout North America and Europe, and as far as away from the US as Africa and Australia. Some notable artists and groups I have worked with include South African choreographer Robyn Orlin, the Chicago-based theater companies Plasticene, Prop Theater, and Latino Chicago Theater, NY-based vocal-performance artist Lynn Book, and Chicago e-poet Kurt Heintz, and Canadian sound-radio artist Anna Friz.

Below is a listing of past projects. For a complete list, please consult my curriculum vitae. Short listening examples of my work are on my "composer and performer" page.

Compositions & Sound Design for Film, Video & Dance

Reduccion, film by Stephen Mazurek, Ruffian Pictures, 2007

Frozen, film by Gretchen Hasse, 2002

Urban Tribe, film by Jennie Halliday, 2000

Faust, by Robyn Orlin, music composed with Gert Anklam, performed at the Hebbel Theater, Berlin; Studio du CND, Paris, 2000.

Desire, film by Scott Marshall, 1997

Naked On a Goat, by Robyn Orlin, performed at the Barney Simon Theater at The Market, Johannesburg, South Africa, and in France, Poland, Germany, and Switzerland, 1996–97

The Polka Dot Lives On, by Robyn Orlin, performed by the Soweto Dance Theatre for the FNB Vita Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1995

In a corner the sky surrenders, by Robyn Orlin, performed at Northwestern University, Evanston, and in Australia, England, Belgium, and South Africa, 1994–96

The explosion of stars is not only reserved for ticketholders, dance performance by Robyn Orlin, Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago, also in Basel, Switzerland, in Grahamstown, Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa by the Natal Performing Arts Council (NAPAC) Dance Company, 1992–95

Chinese Cucumbers, poetry video by Kurt Heintz and Patricia Smith, broadcast on WNYC, New York; WTTW, Chicago; DeCordova Museum, Lincoln MA; 14th International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Chicago, 1994 – 1997

Works for Radio

Dancing Walls Stir the Prairies produced with Anna Friz at the free103point9 Wave Farm, broadcast on ORF Kunstradio-Radiokunst and Deutschlandradio, 2007-2008

The Perimeter, performed for "RadioREVOLTEN", broadcast on Radio Corax, Halle/Salle, Germany, 2006

Untitled live broadcasts, solo and with Neil Jendon, Jason Soliday, Carol Genetti, Yuko Nexus6, and Michael Zerang, on "Something Else," WLUW-FM Chicago, and "The Expansion Experiment," WNUR-FM Evanston, 2001–2006

Animism with Carol Genetti for Experimental Sound Studio's "Outer Ear Festival" broadcast on WNUR, WHPK, WLUW, and WZRD, 2000

Untitled live broadcasts with Steve Barsotti, Dan Burke, Fregus Kelly, Tod Sweczyk, Bill Talsma, and Toshi Makihara on "Something Else," WLUW-FM Chicago, 1996–2000

SoundPlay for Sabine and Urban Archeology broadcast on "Internationale Digitale Radio Kunst," curated by Sabine Breitsameter at Sender Freies Berlin, 1995

Untitled live broadcast, Wormwood, WZRD-FM, Chicago, 1994

Beyond the Pale, radio broadcast of Urban Archeology by A.A.R.T., Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 1993–94 (See Urban Archeology in Performances, above)

Performance, Composition & Sound Design for Theater

Until One Falls, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, Center for Performing Arts, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 2008

One False Note, Or How To Rob a Bank, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, music creaated and performed with Dylan Posa and Jason Soliday, The Storefront Theater, Chicago, 2006

Live Feed 11.11.05, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, National Pastime Theater, 2006

Refuge, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, in residency at The Drama League's Directors Project at The Schaeberle Studio Theatre at Pace University, New York City, subsequent performances at Dance Chicago '96 Festival, Links Hall Performance Studio, National Pastime Theater, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the 2005 PAC/edge Festival, 1996–2005

The Perimeter postcard The Perimeter, directed by Sharon Göpfert, created and performed by Plasticene, Viaduct Theater, Chicago, 2004

Blank Slate postcard BlankSlate, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, for the 2nd Annual PAC/edge Festival, Chicago, 2004

The Palmer Raids, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, The National Pastime Theater and PAC/edge Festival, Chicago, and The Ohio Theater, New York 2002–03

Flight, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, 2003

And So I May Return, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, The Viaduct, Chicago, 2002

Head Poison, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, Storefront Theater - Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, Chicago, 2001

Come Like Shadows, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, music with Bill Talsma, Chopin Theatre, 1999

After the Seance, written by Cheryl Tyrkv, directed by Michael Stumm, The Hideout, Chicago, 1999

4X4, by Plasticene, directed by Dexter Bullard, Rhinoceros Theater Festival, Chicago, 1999

VOL. XII, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, Athenaeum Studio Theater, Blue Rider Theater, and The Viaduct, Chicago, 1997–2001

One Thousand and One Afternoons In Chicago, by Paul Peditto, directed by Jim Sullivan, performed by Prop Theater Company at Latino Chicago Theater (1997), and The Storefront, Chicago, 2001

Mercuria, with Lynn Book and Theo Bleckman at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1997

Fur, by Migdalia Cruz, directed by Ralph Flores, performed by the Latino Chicago Theatre Company at the Steppenwolf Studio Theater, Chicago, 1997

Fatzer: Demise of the Egotist, by Bertold Brecht, translated and directed by Stefan Brün, performed by Prop Thtr at the National Pastime Theater, Chicago, 1996

Door Slam, directed by Dexter Bullard, created and performed by Plasticene, Chicago premiere at the Chopin Theater; Chicago remounts at the Steppenwolf Studio Theater; American Blues Theater, and The Viaduct; and the Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland, 1995–2000

Behind the Curtains, by Ezzat Goushegir, directed by Hannah Gale, performed by the Hidden Theater Co. at the Greenview Arts Center, Chicago, 1995

Never Come Morning, by Nelson Algren, adaptation by Paul Peditto, directed by Jennifer Markowitz, performed by Prop Thtr at the Firehouse, 1994

Camille (Deflowered), adapted and directed by Jill Daly, performed at the Body Politic Theatre, Chicago, 1994

Rhinoceros, by Eugene Ionesco, directed by Brian Shaw, performed at the Getz Theatre, Columbia College, Chicago, 1993

Ward 6, by Anton Chekov, adapted and directed by Jill Daly, performed at the Curious Theater Branch, Chicago, 1991

Two People Came Over..., written and directed by Michael K. Meyers, Dance Center of Columbia College, Chicago, 1990

Eat Your Gun, or Who Shot Brendan deVallance?, written, directed, and performed by Brendan deVallance, Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, 1986

Orphee, by Jean Cocteau, directed by Tom Jaremba, Lodge Hall Dance Center and the State of Illinois Center, Chicago, 1986

Spectacle of White Men/Man in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, written and directed by Werner Herterich, Art Institute of Chicago and Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, 1986

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