Kurt is probably best known for his 25 years of work as the Director of Music for Big Idea Productions and their ground-breaking and world-famous video series VeggieTales and 3-2-1 Penguins. His roles have encompassed song-writing, scoring, arranging, performance, conducting, and production. He has composed for over 50 videos, a dozen CDs, 2 major motion pictures, and has sold over 75 million video and audio units. From his tuba playing on the VeggieTales Theme Song to his co-writing of songs like The Hairbrush Song and His Cheeseburger, Kurt has left his mark on children’s entertainment.
Following Big Idea, Kurt has spent years as a freelance composer in the Nashville area. First came scoring for 5 seasons of CBN’s Superbook, translated into dozens of languages and seen world-wide. He has also written songs and score for other video series such as Randall Goodgame’s Slugs and Bugs, Mike Nawrocki’s Dead Sea Squirrels, and Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga. In addition, Kurt has written and performed on projects for Disney, Blizzard Entertainment, Sesame Workshop, and for documentaries, commercials, apps, and museums.
Kurt grew up in a musical family, watching his mother play organ and direct church choirs, singing next to his father in church choir, being inspired by his two older brother’s trumpet and woodwind playing, and performing church solos on his trumpet beginning in junior high school. Kurt began arranging in junior high with a very lame attempt at the Star Wars Main Title for a school ensemble, but by high school was directing a German band and arranging for various ensembles. He earned his BA in band and choral conducting from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, where he was president of Nordic Choir, under the directing of world-renown conductor, Weston Noble.
Kurt’s early career included teaching general music in the Bahamas, band directing in Chicago, performing for a year on the road, singing 500 shows one summer at a theme park, and becoming a church director of music for 8 years. It was at church that he met Phil, Mike, and Lisa…Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and Junior Asparagus. The produce aisle has never been the same…
When Kurt writes, he draws from this life-long experience in all genres of music-everything from classical to jazz to world to folk to contemporary. When working independently and recording at the computer, he utilizes his diverse background in both synthesis and acoustic instruments to bring a rich and varied palette to his sounds. This includes his collection of brass, wind, and percussion instruments, along with the wind controller, literally breathing life into many of his sampled sounds. Kurt is equally comfortable writing for and conducting all-size groups. These range from string sections added to his own sequences to small wind ensembles; from 70-voice choirs to orchestras including the 55-piece Seattle Orchestra and 80-piece City of Prague Orchestra, used in the motion pictures he has scored.
In addition to composition and photography, Kurt enjoys speaking on college campuses about the realities of the music business, drawing from his wide range of professional experiences. He is also a published composer of school band and orchestral pieces, under Robert W. Smith Publishing, with two pieces recently being chosen as “Editor’s Choice” with J.W. Pepper, the largest sheet music retailer in the world.
Kurt and Judy are empty nesters, living in Columbia, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. All three of their grown children- Gretchen, Clayton, and Wesley- are teaching or studying music, so now they can enjoy more time with their grandson, Fisher!
- 7 Dove Awards for music production (gospel music’s highest honor)
- Multiple gold and platinum CDs, and dozens of platinum-selling videos
- 2004 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, 1st prize, Animated Short Film, for “Bellybutton”
- VeggieTunes and VeggieTunes 2 simultaneously holding Billboard’s top 2 spots for kids’ audio
- 2002 Inspirational Life Awards — Children’s Album of the Year, Silly Songs With Larry
- Worship Leader Praise Awards — Best New Children’s Project, Jonah, A VeggieTales Movie
- VeggieTales and 3-2-1 Penguins top-rated shows for NBC’s Qubo Saturday morning line-up
- School band and orchestral writing, under Robert W. Smith Publishing, included in “Top 100 Band Compositions for 2022” by Bandworld Magazine and 2 “Editor’s Choice” awards by J.W. Pepper (the largest sheet music retailer in the world)
Kurt is at home in his German pub-inspired studio, surrounded by hundreds of acoustic instruments and a 4-terabyte library of sampled sounds. Serving as his studio, man-cave, and office, it provides space for directors to view works-in-progress, while also recording individuals and small ensembles as needed.
Kurt’s first instrument was piano, and by high school he was experimenting with monophonic synthesizers and multi-track reel-to-reel recording. In college he was working on a Moog modular synthesizer and a Fairlight Series III- the pinnacle of electronic music at the time. Simultaneously he was playing trumpet, which eventually led to him learning (and now owning) all the brass instruments, which he has hanging from the beams in his studio. Years later he taught himself Irish whistle- he has now acquired over 100 versions of Irish whistles, recorders, ethnic flutes, Native American whistles, ocarinas, etc., all within arm’s reach for recording. His performance of dozens of these can be heard in Disney Park attractions and shows around the world. His studio is also filled with percussion, noise-makers, accordions, string instruments, a Lowry Magic Genie organ, and many one-of-a-kind instruments such a theremin built by signed by Robert Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer.
Kurt's Studio Tour
Join Andrew Masters as he interviews Kurt Heinecke and gives an in-depth tour of his studio.
Photography and Videography
Kurt’s passion for photography was a hobby for years, and earned him a ribbon at the county fair in junior high!!! 20 years ago, though, he was invited to help document the Chicago Airshow for pilots, and his skill and equipment quickly grew. Later he read every book he could get his hands on, and took an online course with renowned photographer Bryan Peterson. He then spent years with Meishach Wedding Photography, first as an assistant, then growing into a lead photographer role. Kurt now regularly photographs conventions, concerts, live events, and anything that needs professional documentation.
Regular ongoing clients include:
- The Nashville Symphony
- Premier Cruises and Events (20+ cruises)
- TBN studios
- KLOVE and Dove Awards
- Event photography- Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith
- Convention photography- Cisco, Mass Mutual Life Insurance, and Tom James Company
- Wedding photography and videography
Kurt captures photos and videos with 3 mirrorless bodies, an infrared body, a 3D camera, multiple GoPros, and over a dozen pro-level lenses. He also works with a variety of on and off-camera flash systems, lighting modifiers, and backdrops.