The Kennedy Center

Boat Burning


Burning is a multi-guitar, experimental music collective that combines classically-influenced, minimalist compositions with the maximal ferocity and power of punk.

Featuring a core of five composer/guitarists, the DC based ensemble explores "maximum minimalism," an intricate hybrid of composition and improvisation where elemental passages played by a multitude of instruments -- sometimes 100 or more guitars -- produce shimmering towers of densely-stacked harmonics. The result is majestic, evocative music that fuses the widescreen sweep of classical with the sheer physical thrall of punk rock.

Burning's obsession is with how music of astonishing complexity and beauty can arise by radically embracing simplicity and diverisity. Musical passages and instrumentation are stripped way down, and special tunings are used, to bring out and emphasize the differences in each player's unique technique, ability and gear. This creates striking sonic effects: phantom instruments, created by the massive additive and subtractive harmonics -- piccolos, French horns, bassoons, even entire string sections -- flicker into life, and then disappear...

Formed 2008 in Chapel Hill NC's roiling experimental music scene, founder Andras Fekete relocated Burning to the U.S. capital in 2011 to take part in the District's exploding musical renaissance. Since then, Boat Burning has attracted an astonishing array of collaborators from multiple cities.

Notable performances include the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Center; "Music For 100 Guitars" at DC's legendary 9:30 Club (featuring over 100 local musicians plus visuals by DC guerrilla projectionist Robin Bell); “Music for 70 Guitars” at Black Cat DC; opening for postpunk legends Mission Of Burma and protopunk legends Rocket From The Tombs; Capital Fringe Festival; Sonic Circuits Festival (featuring a collaboration with Austrian violinist Mia Zabelka); Seventh Stanine Festival; live ambient sound installations in the Dupont Underground (a recently re-opened abandoned trolly station under Dupont Circle), and in 160 feet of hallways in MLK Memorial Library; outdoor performances in DC's Penn Quarter and Adams Morgan; in-studio performances at WMUC-FM and NBC-TV 17; and shows at area venues including: Rock And Roll Hotel, DC9, Comet Ping Pong, Rhizome, Union Arts, Pyramid Atlantic, Songbyrd, Babe City, VisARTs Gallery and The Wind-Up Space.

Burning's 2018 debut ep was recorded by legendary Dischord Records recording engineer Don Zientara, mixed by Mission Of Burma's Roger Miller, and mastered by Bob Weston of Shellac.

Watch Past Performances

Video 12/11/2018: BOAT BURNING presents: "A maximum minimalist Christmas"

Boat Burning, a DC-based experimental rock ensemble featuring original works for multiple electric guitars, celebrates the holiday season with an evening of shimmering harmonics specially created for the soaring hall of the Millennium Stage.   The program will include favorites old and new, selections from the ensemble's debut EP, and a few holiday surprises.