Welcome to the official music website of Kurt Kistler.
Kurt has been making music for the last 30+ years primarily as a keyboardist. He plays the piano, organ, synthesizers and various percussion. His musical style, while being primarily instrumental, has been highly influenced over the years by Vangelis, Brian Eno, early Tangerine Dream, Wendy Carlos and Jean Michel Jarre.
Kurt also composes, performs and records soundtrack scores for short films.
In addition to playing keyboards, he also is a composer, drummer and artist. Feel free to listen to some of his music ranging from solo albums, live concerts and other musical collaborations.
Kurt Kistler was born on October 6th, 1968 in Houston, Texas. He received a toy piano grand piano on Christmas morning 1970 when he was two years old. Always drawn to music from a very early age, some of his earliest musical memories were looking at the record labels and their logos in the center of the vinyl records and the sounds of Henry Mancini, Quincy Jones, The Steve Miller Band, Joe Walsh, Star Wars, Tomita, Jazz, Pop, Funk and Soul Music.
He didn’t officially begin his musical training until the age of ten when he began taking piano lessons and continued for the next seven years. In the sixth grade, he began playing the trombone in the junior high band and continued for the next four years. 1983, as a freshman at Dulles High School, Kurt performed in the marching, concert and jazz bands.
In 1984, Kurt began attending Subiaco Academy, a College Preparatory Boarding School in Northwest Arkansas. He began studying classical music during his sophomore, junior and senior years. While there, he was exposed to the compositions of J.S. Bach, Johannes Brahms and Erik Satie.
It was at Subiaco during his junior year that he discovered synthesizers. His first portable keyboard was a Yamaha PSR series synthesizer with half sized keys. He also performed with fellow musicians in his first band “Blind Vision” in 1987 and participated in the school’s Handbell group his senior year.
He attended The University of North Texas from 1987-88. While at UNT, he was fortunate to have a plethora of other musicians to collaborate with on projects and learn musical techniques from. It was in his freshman year that he learned how to multi-track with a Tascam 4-track recorder and various other keyboards. He also had the amazing opportunity to access the school’s midi lab with another student and use a full array of high end digital equipment including samplers, synthesizers and music software. 1989, he bought a Casio keyboard with full-size keys and a built in phrase sampler.
In 1991, he began to teach himself how to play the drums while sitting on other people’s kits. This would continue until 2007 when he finally got his own 6 piece jazz fusion drum kit.
The turning point was in 1992 when he received a Korg M1 Music Workstation. It featured a digital 8-track sequencer, 76 full size keys, built in effects, 200 sound patches plus additional sound cards. This was truly the beginning of his musical compositions coming to life. Once a piece was complete, it was recorded onto a cassette and kept as a master. The composition process eventually became very organic with a hybridization of real time playing mixed with sequencing.
Over the years, he added additional synthesizers, percussion and learned how to play the organ. In 2003, he bought his first 88 weighted key synthesizer and a Tascam Digital 8-track recorder. Kurt also learned how to mix tracks and edit the wave files using music software and use a midi controller to trigger sound patches. He has recorded over 150+ original songs and performed with his band Magpu in over 108 concerts in 4 states.
He currently composes, records, mixes and creates the artwork for his own musical projects and soundtracks for independent films. He also performs LIVE Electro Acoustic music with his band Escher’s Elevator and with fellow musician Cliff McCarthy.
In addition to being a musician, Kurt is also an accomplished and innovative artist specializing in a variety of creative mediums ranging from pen & ink, airbrush & digital illustration to animation, album covers and graphic design. You can see all of his artwork and creative projects at www.kistlercreative.com