Over the last couple decades Eric Rigler has risen to become one of Celtic music’s most sought-after recording session artists, bringing the timeless, haunting sonorities of the uilleann pipes, the Great Highland Bagpipe, the Scottish small-pipes and the Irish whistle to film, television, and recording audiences around the world.
Though best known for his work with composer James Horner as a soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra on the Oscar-winning films BRAVEHEART and TITANIC, Eric is featured on the soundtracks of dozens of other motion pictures including HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, MEN IN BLACK 3, CINDERELLA MAN, TROY, LADDER 49, MASTER AND COMMANDER, THE ROAD TO PERDITION, AUSTIN POWERS: The Spy Who Shagged Me, THE NEGOTIATOR, THE DEVIL’S OWN, THE FUGITIVE, and the IMAX documentary, EVEREST.
Among his television credits are Outlander and Black Sails for Starz, Reign for the CW Network, Jimmy Kimmel Live with The Young Dubliners, the 2006 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show for CBS, Parks and Recreation for NBC, Crossing Jordan for NBC, 'The Star Spangled Banner' with Faith Hill for NFL Superbowl XXXIV, The 1999 Grammy Awards’ performance of the theme from Titanic with James Horner, three times featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Josh Groban (2004, 2013) and Charlotte Church, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, The View, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, four times on The Simpsons for Fox, Battlestar Galactica for SyFy, Newsradio for NBC, South Park for Comedy Central, Northern Exposure for CBS and a score of commercials. Internationally, Eric performed on the soundtrack for one of Asia’s most popular TV series, Korean Dae Jang Guem (Jewel of the Palace). He is also one of the few non-Scots ever featured on the prestigious BBC Radio Scotland programs Pipeline and Music for the Pipes, and the 2015 BBC Two Television documentary, Phil Cunningham’s Pipe Dreams.
As a testament to his proficiency and reputation, The Reagan Family and Foundation requested Eric to lead former President Ronald Reagan’s casket with the melody of 'Amazing Grace' to its final resting place on June 11, 2004, witnessed by millions of television viewers around the globe.
Enjoyed by concert audiences for his emotionally expressive playing, Eric has performed to sold-out houses throughout the world. He has been featured soloist with The London Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Milwaukee Symphony, The Colorado Symphony, The San Diego Symphony, and in April 2015, at London’s Royal Albert Hall for the sold-out world premiere of TITANIC LIVE, a new cinema concert production currently touring Europe and Asia. As guest artist, Eric toured the world for two years with Grammy-winning Salsa legend Rubén Blades, is featured on the live DVD Josh Groban In Concert, has played with Bryan Adams during his Bare Bones Tour, Michael Sembello’s band The Bridge, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells 2, Paul McCartney’s Tripping the Live Fantastic and with one of Scotland’s longest running folk groups, “Battlefield Band”. His current band, Bad Haggis, fuses the ancient sound of the pipes with Latin percussion, vocals, guitar, bass & drums. Supported by a cast of stellar musicians, Dirty Linen magazine says, “...Rigler and his unisonant mates traverse and merge styles as gleefully as kids set loose in a musical Disneyland. Combining Celtic, African, Rock, Jazz, World Beat and nearly any other piping hot genre to toss into its tasty concoction, Bad Haggis is indubitably a kitchen sink of creativity.”
His exceptional traditional playing and extensive studio experience have created a fluid style so much in demand that Eric is undoubtedly the most recorded piper in history - a top session musician practically living in studios from Hollywood to Nashville and Abbey Road. Eric’s most recent work can be heard in the new “Harry Potterland” attraction at Universal Studios Tokyo, Hong Kong Disneyland, on CD’s by Josh Groban (All That Echoes), Faith Hill (Joy To The World), Keith Urban (Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing), Bette Midler (Cool Yule), and Meatloaf (Bat Out of Hell 3), as well as releases by such varied artists as Irish Pop Supergroup Westlife (Gravity), 2003 Grammy Winner for “Best World Music” Rubén Blades (Mundo), Robbie Robertson (Ladder 49 – the original motion picture soundtrack), Charlotte Church (Enchantment), Phil Collins (Testify, …Hits), Barbra Streisand (Higher Ground), Tracy Chapman (Telling Stories, New Beginning), Rod Stewart (When We Were the New Boys), and Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey (The Prince of Egypt – the original motion picture soundtrack).
Eric’s career on the Great Highland Bagpipe began at age seven and he won the California state amateur championship while still in his early teens. He later moved to Scotland for further study and new competitive opportunities. Among other top individual honors he subsequently won were the prestigious Dunvegan Gold Medal on the Isle of Skye and the first “Young Piper of the Year” award from The Famous Grouse Whisky. Eric also began composing during this period and his popular tunes appear in the competition and recording repertoires of several World Champion Scottish and Irish pipe bands. It was while residing in Scotland that he was drawn to the evocative, dauntingly complex Irish uilleann pipes, one of the music world’s most en vogue ethnic instruments which appeals so much to today’s composers, artists and audiences. Most recently, The City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department honored Eric in 2005, 2007 and 2008 by awarding him the status of an “L.A. Treasure”.
“Over the last decade the generous fruits of Eric Rigler’s multiple musical lives have indeed borne a rich harvest of imaginative creativity, long may it be so.” -- Irish Music magazine, February 1999