Christian Kesten is a composer, director, sound and intermedia artist, vocalist and performer.
His artistic interest lies in the "in-between", the transitory, the spaces between music and action, music and language, music and sculpture. His work explores the interpenetration of sound and silence, of sound and space, with a focus on the physical activity of creating the sound, and the physicality of the sound itself. His compositions include instrumental, vocal, site-specific works and composed theatre. Kesten is a specialist in vocal experimentation and the performativity of music. He works with an expanded notion of music that integrates elements from performance art, conceptual art and contemporary dance.
Kesten received commissions by ensembles like Marinate Fish Impro Committee Beijing, Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, Maulwerker, Konzert Minimal, Rue du Nord Lausanne, Ensemble Cercles Schweiz, Object Collection New York, AuditivVokal Dresden, Chorakademie Dortmund, WeSpoke London.
He realised full-length pieces in spaces like Radialsystem V Berlin, Schauspielhaus Wuppertal, Théâtre 2.21 Lausanne, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Arts, Gropius Bau Berlin, at festivals like MaerzMusik, Labor Sonor Translating Spaces, MIKROTON Berne, Kunstfest Weimar, Ontological Experimental Series New York, Operadagen Rotterdam. He also created site-specific works for train stations, basements, and the three elevators of Museum for Modern Art MUMOK Vienna. Kesten delivered solo performances for voice, body, objects, video and audio/field recordings in Europe, North America, China and Japan.
He received awards and grants by the Berlin Cultural Senate, Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikstiftung, International Society of New Music, Kuenstlerhaus Lukas Ahrenshoop, Villa Aurora Los Angeles, a.o.
His stage directions of new music theatre (Kagel, Schnebel, Cage, Tom Johnson, Makiko Nishikaze, Jacques Demierre, Steven Takasugi and others) have been presented at Akademie der Künste Berlin, Kleines Schauspielhaus Dresden, Theater Bielefeld, Podewil Berlin, Konzerthaus Berlin, Megaron Moussiki Athens, Festspielhaus Hellerau, Kings Place London, at the festivals MaerzMusik Berliner Festspiele, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Les Amplitudes Switzerland, Tage Théâtre Musical Zurich, Festival des Jardins Musicaux Switzerland and others.
He is a member of the ensemble Maulwerker and conceives the series maulwerker performing music, which investigates aspects of musical performativity as a consequence of an expanded notion of music: the compositional material is extended to the body, the space, the situation.
Since 2006 he has been co-curator of the Berlin series Labor Sonor for experimental music, film and performance, co-editor of the book "echtzeitmusik berlin. self-defining a scene" (2011) and artistic co-director of the Labor Sonor festivals "Translating Music" (2015), "Moving Music" (2016) and "Choreographing Sound" (2018).
Teaching assignments and guest lectures in Europe, Israel, China, North and South America.