CHAMPAIGN — Before Jason Finkelman moved to Champaign-Urbana in 2000 to take a job with the University of Illinois School of Music, he was a regular performer and attendee at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, a venue known for its eclectic music.

In Champaign-Urbana, where he’s artistic director of Global Arts Performance Initiatives at Krannert Center, Finkelman struggled to find similar music.

Then, he heard Nick Rudd play with Brian Reedy in the band Water Between Continents.

“Water Between Continents had that aesthetic that I was looking for,” Finkelman said. “I was excited about it.”

Rudd, who died in May, was a well-known figure in the C-U music scene since the 1980s, when he fronted rock band Turning Curious and a host of others.

But when Finkelman met him, he didn’t simply meet a rock guitarist. He found a man who was fascinated with music across the spectrum. He was also infatuated with poetry, so much so that former bandmate Dave Wisniewski wrote on nickruddmusic.com, a site dedicated to remembering Rudd, that Rudd didn’t simply write lyrics, “He wrote poetry interwoven with music.”

“He’s just a natural empath,” said Gina Manola, his wife of 13 years. “He was just so open to music and to many things and to see people come together in that way through vibrations really. That’s what music is. He appreciated it very much.”

Finkelman and Rudd first collaborated in 2003 as part of the “Sudden Sound Ensemble,” which featured
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