Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, Eli Keszler began playing drums at eight, composing at twelve, and playing in rock and hardcore bands throughout his teens. Now based in New York City, his work retains an intense physicality and ferocious energy developed from these early experiences. Keszler's installations and visual work often use microprocessor-controlled motors to strike, scrape and vibrate various lengths of piano wire as well as other materials. His projects deal with bordering spaces between architectural space and performance – installation and compostion. These installations can be heard both autonomously and with accompanying ensemble scores or solo performance featuring Keszler's aggressive jarringly rhythmic and propulsive drumming. One of his most recent projects mounted 16 wires ranging from 100 to 800 feet long off the iconic Manhattan Bridge, activated by the vibrational patterns in the bridge's structure as well as by a complex mechanical system. "I like to work with raw material, simple sounds, primitive or very old sounds," Keszler stated in a recent interview on NPR's All Songs Considered, "sounds that won't get dated in any way." His installations are often accompanied by scores, drawings, diagrams, screen prints and writings-- a large body of which were recently compiled in a collection 'NEUM' which accompanied his installation at the South London Gallery.
His installations and visual work have appeared at the MIT List Center, Victoria & Albert Museum, The Kitchen, South London Gallery, Luma-Foundation, Tectonics Festival (Harpa Hall) Reykjavik, Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Boston Center for the Arts, Barbican - St. Lukes amongst other places. He most recently presented a piece along with David Grubbs at the List Center at MIT.
Keszler has toured extensively throughout Europe and the US, performing solo and in collaboration with artists such as Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Oren Ambarchi, Joe Mcphee, Jandek, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Coleman, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, T Model Ford, Ran Blake, and Ilan Volkov with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. He has performed at venues including Muziekgebouw (Amsterdam), Barbican, ICA Boston and Moma PS1 and has recorded solo releases for labels such as PAN, REL Records and ESP-DISK'. He has received commissions and awards from MATA, Gaudeamus, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Foundation For Contemporary Art funding and a Meet The Composers Grant recipient. He has spoken and taught at the St. Louis Museum, Washington University, UMass Lowell, New England Conservatory and Brooklyn College. Keszler is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music.
"Few artists have courted chaos as diligently and scientifically as the percussionist and composer Eli Keszler, whose performance-installation work incorporate small, motorized beaters that pattern and scuff, seemingly of their own accord, against elegant suspensions of amplified piano wire. Friday's event gave Mr. Keszler a chance to make a city landmark a part of the performance....But the bridge, with its steady automotive din of cars and intermittent subway-train thunder, lent new elements, including haunting sustained moans with an almost choral quality. The piano-wire litany... engulfed an audience seated under the resonant archway."
New York Times Review of Archway, June 2013
One and One Less - Exhibtion and Performance w/ David Grubbs - MIT List Center (October-November 2014)
Victoria And Albert Museum - Installation and Performance with Helm at the Boiler Room (February 2014)
Caramoor Festival - Installation (May to September 2014)
AP News - Installation and performance (Zurich, April 2013)
South London Gallery NEUM June to September 2013
'Archway' June 2013
Installation off Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo NYC, wires running from 800 to 100 feet – Commissioned by NPR music, Issue Project Room, PAN Festival, Make Music New York and Dot
150 foot x 50 foot installation as part of At The Moment of Being Heard group show
Barbican Performance and installation in St. Luke's, London in September of 2012 September of 2012
TURBULENCE Transmission Arts Commission for 'L-Carrier', shown at EYEBEAM in June (2012) Art Berlin Contemporary (2012) Performance of new piece and installation U.T
RVNG Intl, Matthew Higgs 'Bulletin Boards' at Venus Over Manhattan (July 2012) Contributed mechanical piece for David Van Tieghem Performance
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant for me-di-ate soundwaves festival installation in San Francisco MATA Composers Prize (2012)
Creative Connections Grant (2012)
Gaudeamus Composers Festival September of 2012 installation at Utrecht Centraal Museum Providence
String Quartet Commission (2011)
Cold Pin-Collecting Basin Commissioned at the Shreveport MSPS New Music Festival
Psaltery – Large scale mechanical installation commission from Bring To Light/Nuitblanche NYC (2011)
Cold Pin, commission for 'cyc specifc' Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts (2011)
Stairwell, Boston Cyber Arts Festival, 2008
REL EDITIONS Solo Prints and Paintings sold through rel editions
Catching Net Collected Compositions and Installations (PAN-ACT) Aster (8MM) Eli Keszler/Joe Mcphee Duo (8MM Records) Eli Keszler/Keith Fullerton Whitman 'split' (NNA)
Eli Keszler 'Cold Pin' (PAN-ACT Berlin) Red Horse (Type Records)
Aster (REL008) Red Horse (REL007)
APPEARS ON Ashley Paul Slow Boat (LP) Keith Fullerton Whitman "Rythmes Naturels (18re Partie)" INA GRM Commission, Paris (2012) Phill Niblock 'Asheli' "for saxophone and crotales" (2009) Geoff Mullen Armory Radio (Barge Recordings, 2008) Anthony Coleman Lapidation (New World Records, 2008)
Solo European Tour February 2012
PAN ACT Festival CafR Oto (London), 5 shows across Finland, Frankfurt and Berlin
Solo European Tour April 2010
Performances in UK, Finland, Germany, France and Spain. Highlights include Lala Lumo Festival in Helsinki, Finland and Cafe Oto concert with Steve Berseford and Adam Bohman
Solo European/UK tour November 2009 Performances in Scotland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Czech- Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Serbia. Highlights included Cave 12 (Geneva, Switzerland), Klub Gromka (Ljubljana, Slovenia) WIM (Zurich, Switzerland), OCII (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Extrapool (Nijmegen, The Netherlands)
Solo National Tour, July/August 2009 performed 35 concerts; 25 solo, 10 in collaboration with Ashley Paul at venues such as Titwrench Fest (Denver, CO), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art (Omaha, NB), Pyramid Atlantic (Silver Springs, MD), Bard College, Echo Curio (Los Angeles, CA)
SELECTED FESTIVAL APPEARANCES
Tectonics Festival w/ Icelandic Symphony Orchestra (Scheduled April 2013) Transmediale Festival (2013) Flux Night Art Festival - Atlanta Georgia Barbican, London at LSO St. Luke's, September, 2012
Gaudeamus Festival, September of 2012 Me-di-ate Soundwave ((5)) festival at the Townsley Battery, San Francisco, CA, August 5th, 2012 pan act festival, London 2012 Lala Lumo Festival,Helsinki Finland, 2010 On Land Root Strata Festival with Aster in San Francisco, 2010 Colour Out Of Space Festival Brighton, England 2010 Sound-Body-Movement Ostrava, Czech RepubliccGargall, Manresa, Spain, 2009 WRITINGS Wire Magazine, 'On Xenakis' Preparatory Sketches Inner Sleeve (september 2012) RADIO FEATURES NPR interview and feature, all songs considered WNYU live performance and interview Rare Frequency WZBC, Boston Massachusetts KFJC, San Jacinto California KXLU, Los Angelis, California WMBR MIT RADIO, Boston, Massachusetts WBSR Brown University, Providence Rhode Island
NY Times Review: June 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/arts/music/eli-keszlers-l-carrier-at- eyebeam-in- chelsea.html?_r=1
NPR Feature: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2011/10/24/141668688/who-controls-the-machine-eli- keszlers- motors-and-piano-wires
BOMB Magazine: http://bombsite.com/issues/1000/articles/7343
The Wire http://thewire.co.uk/video/eli-keszler_s-breaker-neum_wp_installation-at-reykjavik-harpa Pitchfork: http://pitchfork.com/features/the-out-door/8901-number-25/3/
We Care If You Listen: http://www.icareifyoulisten.com/2012/05/5-questions-eli-keszler-composer/ Impose Magazine: Eli Keszler Vs. Keith Fullerton Whitmanhttp://www.imposemagazine.com/features/part-one-eli- keszler-vs-keith-fullerton-whitman Foxy Digitalis:
Wire Magazine Feature: http://www.thewire.co.uk/articles/6935/ Indigest Mag: http://indigestmag.com/blog/?p=11565
"Eli Keszler, "L-Carrier," was introduced before a rapt audience... Roots notwithstanding, Mr. Keszler is an original; the way he deploys his energies is even more so.... Artful, perplexing and endlessly fascinating, it could just as well have been magic."
Steve Smith, New York Times, June 10th, 2012
"Anyone who's been fortunate enough to catch Eli Keszler and Steve Pyne's Red Horse duo live can now bring it all home cuz these two east coast sound junk beauty futurians fnally made an LP (Rel Records re1007). And it is awesome. With all the various recordings of the last decade exploring temporal interplay Red Horse....really achieve some deep and artful result without losing the ball to excess or mundanity." Thurston Moore and Byron Coley Arthur Magazine, Bull Tongue
"There's a relentlessly spattering energy to his boundary-less compositions, which span but never settle.."
Lars Gotrich NPR All Songs Considered