Eliot Burk

Hi! I'm a composer of experimental and new classical music, a bass player, performance artist, and music teacher somewhere in California (I can move pretty quickly in my 2002 sedan). In my music, I try to unify disparate and seemingly paradoxical conceptions: control over the uncontrollable, intentional failure & amateurism against virtuosity & professionalism, anti-music & formalism, freedom & rigor, boredom & violence. To me, these conceptual realms (and others) are fertile ground for the delicious food of unusual experiences, which I like to serve to curious & brave audiences.

Many of my recent works explore instrumental physicality & performer perception during the act of performance. Here's a tad about a few of them:
Each piece in my series of "String Quartets for Two Performers" presents an unusual approach to technique & the scuptural arrangement of the four instruments as the conceptual starting point. Many pieces intertwine the actions of the two performers, so neither has full control over the resulting music.
In "Piece for Four Guitars in Scordatura," each instrument is tuned to a different scordatura derived from the overtones of the lowest string on the lowest instrument. Players engage 36+ musical cells allowing for varying degrees of improvisation, giving different lenses through which to reconsider their own instruments in light of the alien pitch world.
In "Noncomposition in the Shape of a String Quartet: Bowed Wood," each performer traces their bow across the entire wooden surface of their instrument (skipping the strings), revealing the unique resonances, non-resonances, and pseudo-resonances of each portion. The resulting sonic form becomes a projection of the abstract shapes uniting the violin family.
"Door" is a composition played on doors from around the world (but mostly California), basking in the extremely expressive musical langauge of door-hinges-as-instruments.
In "grassisfingers," I hold each each instrument of the string quartet facing the ground while walking slowly through a field, allowing the mustard grass to gently brush, strum, pluck, and bow the strings. Through this method, the shape, weight, & texture of the plants, as well as their pattern of growth across the field, become my direct compositional & performance collaborators.

I'm currently pursuing an MFA in Composition and Performance at the California Institute of the Arts.


I love to collaborate! Or if you need someone to do the sound component for a multimedia project (like a game, interactive media, or film/animation), I can help with that too. My email: erburk@gmail.com


Curriculum Vitae




Some Music


Extended version








More String Quartets for Two Performers













Some Performance Art and Installations



A Yearlong Performance Piece (2012)

Anything for Anyone



Interviews of Some Friends