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gust burns

Seattle, WA   

Gust Burns makes work that is woven through several major fields including experimental composition, jazz, contemporary art practices, black studies, marx and post-marxism, art-critical theory, and critical musicology.

With a history as an improvising pianist, he makes music by utilizing multiple procedures; problematizing divisions between performance, score, recording, and text – work that intertwines the conceptual and sonic, critical and affective.  

Two ways of thinking about the project: to uncover listening as social-historically constructed assemblage, and to elaborate and rehearse ways of being together (playing and hearing music).

Burns holds an MFA in music/sound from Bard College, and is a doctoral student at the University of Washington.


Gust Burns
Composer, Artist, Theorist, Writer

University of California San Diego 2014 – 2015
PhD student in Integrative Studies, Department of Music

Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson NY graduated 2015
Master of Fine Arts in Music & Sound

Fairhaven College, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA graduated 2001
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Private Piano Studies with Paul Plimley, Vancouver BC 1999 – 2001

Professional Development:
eulachon 2012 – present
Direct and curate online music and text publication: www.eulachon.us

Seattle Improvised Music Festival 2003 – 2013
Directed, curated, and organized international improvised music festival

Apostrophe 2006 – 2008
Co-directed and organized multi-disciplinary performance series, Seattle

Gallery 1412 2004 – 2010
Co-founded and organized cooperative experimental music venue, Seattle

Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA) 2002 – 2004
Music director

Awards and Grants:
Travel/Research grant from UC San Diego 2015
Utilized to conduct research at the 20th Essentially Ellington festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center, NYC

Artist Trust GAP Award 2009

Jack Straw Artist Support Award 2007

Seattle City Artist Grant 2005

Jack Straw Artist Support Award 2004

Seattle City Artist Grant 2003

Performance, Exhibitions, and Recordings – selection:
records and the museum, a reserve army of eyes and ears, lecture/performance: Seattle Art Museum
Gust Burns Jazz Quartet: Vito’s, Seattle

HG/4SSNZ (hear-stripe is the surplus of nature’s aura in its erasure): Fridman Gallery, NYC
performance and sonic obstruction of sounds 5(a), Bang On A Can Marathon: Seattle

2014 scherzo et pastorale and bird songs: Miami and The Hague
Review Studies II in international exhibition Transnational Express: Auricle, Christchurch New Zealand

review studies, exhibition: Gallery 4 Culture, Seattle 
2-Piano Improvisations with Craig Taborn: Greenwich Music House, festival and series, NYC
Two Trios, self-released recording: Seattle
Seattle Improvised Music Festival
fields with reviews, field recordings, silence, performance: The Powerhouse, Brisbane, I-Beam, Brooklyn

REAL BOOK, solo & jazz quartet: Chapel Performance Space, Seattle
untitled (monk): Gallery 1412, Seattle
Trio Improvisation with Tyshawn Sorrey & Andrew Lafkas: Korzo, Brooklyn
Seattle, recording: Creative Sources, Lisbon
Improvisations with Jack Wright: I-Beam, Brooklyn
Quartet Improvisation with Taku Sugimoto, Jeph Jerman, Tyler Wilcox: Seattle Improvised Music Festival

VOWELS, storefront exhibition with inside piano: Seattle
rainstick, performed with eulachon ensemble
2-Piano Improvisations with Craig Taborn: Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle
Duo Improvisation with Tyler Wilcox: Chapel Performance Space

Piano Deconstruction, exhibition and performance: Open Space, Victoria
Solo Inside Piano and Duo with Vic Rawlings: Issue Project Room, Rasbliutto, NYC
rectangles, performed with eulachon ensemble: Gallery 1412, Seattle

Felt, Collaboration with Melanie Noel, exhibition: Jack Straw New Media Gallery, Seattle 
Duo Improvisations w/ Jason Kahn: Northwest tour
Duo and Quartet Improvisation: The Stone, NYC

Refrain, recording: Creative Sources, Lisbon
Trio Improvisations with Andrea Neumann & Jeffrey Allport: Northwest tour

Levitation Shuffle, recording: Clean Feed Records, Lisbon

Current Projects:

Perform on piano, turntable, and electronics regularly at a variety of venues in Seattle and Internationally, most recently at Fridman Gallery, NYC, December 2016.

Compose pieces using a variety of notations and texts for various sites, musicians, and instruments.

Exhibit installations frequently; have shown in various galleries in Seattle and Canada, most recently at Gallery4Culture, Seattle, May 2013.


Current topics include 20th century music and Sound Art, labor and capital, race, reification of audition, post-listening.

Researching dissertation topic: The institutional emergence of Sound Art, the prescription/ prohibition of the aesthetic and processes of racialization, and the reification of audition.

Publications, Lectures, Panel Discussions:
Limited edition artist book.

review studies 2013
Lecture-Performance at the Guelph Jazz Festival Colloquium on Improvised Music and Social Practice. University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.

monk: some basic and preliminary thoughts… 2012
Text in EULACHON Edition 2, eulachon.us.

Improvisation and Organization 2010
Panel at the Seattle Improvised Music Festival.

New Jazz 2006
Panel with Matthew Shipp and John Gilbreath, at the Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle.

Piano Improvisation Practice & 20th Century Piano Literature 2005
Lecture at CalArts, California.