Erez Dessel is a pianist, composer, and educator currently based in Boston, MA. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Dessel has been playing piano since the age of six, letting his musical passion guide him through life and leading him to explore a multitude of styles, and creative worlds. While he remains grounded by the music of his heroes, people like Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, his music has expanded to include the influence of genres ranging from Mandé music of West Africa to 21st century classical music.
After winning two Downbeat student music awards with his high school combo, Dessel went on to study at the New England Conservatory, which he graduated from in 2020 with a degree in jazz performance. In his four years at NEC, Dessel made arts outreach one of his primary goals, which manifested in him leading his quartet, 8 Legs, in over 50 workshops and masterclasses throughout schools, museums, and other Boston community music venues. In 2019 this group was selected to travel to Virginia Beach as parts of the Virginia Arts Festival’s outreach program, where they performed and taught in Virginia Public Schools for a week. Dessel also took study and performance seriously at NEC, where he worked with Ethan Iverson, Ran Blake, Cecil McBee, and Jason Moran. He was chosen to perform in two residencies with Moran and was selected as the pianist in NEC’s 2019-2020 Jazz Honors Ensemble, coached by pianist Frank Carlberg. He was also selected to participate in the 2019 School for Improvised Music workshop in Brooklyn, NY, where he studied with master improvisers such as Tim Berne, Gerald Cleaver, Kris Davis, and Ralph Alessi.
Dessel’s work extends beyond the piano, as the production director for the Nova Fellowship he planned and produced two multidisciplinary events during the 2019-2020 concert season, one of which was held at the Plimpton Shattuck Black Box Theatre and included collaborations with dancers, poets, and visual artists from across Bosto