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Eli Keszler

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, composer/percussionist/multimedia artist Eli Keszler began playing drums at eight, and composing at twelve. Before finding an interest in experimental music and improvisation, he played in rock and hardcore bands; his work retains an intense physicality and churning, often ferocious energy. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory, where he studied composition with Anthony Coleman and Ran Blake. He has collaborated with Phill Niblock, Roscoe Mitchell, Joe McPhee, Tony Conrad, Loren Connors, Jandek, and many others, and has recorded more than a dozen CDs and LPs for ESP-DISK, REL, and PAN (His ESP-DISK' release was picked as one of the Improvisation albums of the year by Wire Magazine in 2011).

Keszler’s installations employ piano wires of varying lengths; these are struck, scraped, and vibrated by microprocessor-controlled motorized arms, giving rise to harmonically complex tones that are percussive yet resonant. These installations are heard on their own and with accompanying ensemble scores. Said Keszler in a NPR All Songs Considered interview, “I like to work with raw material, like simple sounds, primitive or very old sounds; sounds that won't get dated in any way. I was thinking of ways I could use strings or acoustic material without using pedals or pre-recordings, so the live aspects appealed to me.” In addition, the patterns formed by the overlapping piano wires allow Keszler to create visual components that relate directly to the music, without having to use projections or other electronic equipment. His work has been installed at the Boston Center For the Arts, Nuit Blanche, Brooklyn and upcoming installation at the Utrecht Center for Contemporary Art and St. Luke's in London through the Barbican Gallery.