Biography

Brooklyn-based drummer and composer Harris Eisenstadt (b. Toronto, 1975) is known for his “deep-sighted and elastic view of improvised music in settings that are both small-scale and expansive.” (The New Yorker)

His resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in jazz and improvised music, West African and Afro-Cuban drumming, and performance credits in jazz, film, theater, poetry, dance, contemporary concert music and opera.

Eisenstadt has performed all over the globe, received grants from organizations such as Meet The Composer, The Durfee Fondation, American Composers Forum, Canada Council for the Arts, and appeared on more than 60 recordings since 2000, including twenty as a leader.  Recordings of his compositions often appear on the Songlines, Clean Feed, and No Business labels, and are consistently included on critics’ best-of lists. He has been included in the Rising Star Percussion and Arranger categories of the Downbeat international critics poll the last several years.

His first work for orchestra, Palimpsest, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra, as part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute (2011). Eisenstadt’s second orchestral work, Four Songs, commissioned by the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, was premiered at the Brooklyn Museum (2013). His first string quartet, Whatever Will Happen, That Will Also Be, was premiered as part of Eisenstadt’s twelve-set residency at The Stone in NYC (2015), and released in 2017 on the No Business label. His latest composition project, “Poschiavo 50,” a collection of fifty compositions for small ensembles, was premiered in 2017-18 in Switzerland, New York, Brazil, and Cuba, culminating in his second concert residency at the The Stone.

As a writer and radio producer, he has contributed to National Public Radio, Public Radio International’s AfroPop Worldwide, and John Zorn’s “Arcana XVIII: Musicians on Music.” Eisenstadt is also an active member of New York’s Cuban batá drumming community and a longtime researcher in African and Diaspora vernacular traditions. He has travelled to West Africa twice (Gambia, Senegal) to research Mandinka and Wolof music, and to Matanzas, Cuba four times to study batá drums. During his 2018 trip, he began work with the Matanzas-based production house El Almacén on a music and film project titled We Are All Worthy of One Another.

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