Biography

One of only a handful of drummers equally well known for his work as a composer, Brooklyn-based Harris Eisenstadt (b. Toronto, 1975) is among the most individual and prolific musicians of his generation. 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, 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. Recent honors: Rising Star Percussion Percussion, Arranger, and Composer categories of the Downbeat international critics poll; Best Album, Drummer, Composer categories of the El Intruso international critics poll. 

 

His first work for orchestra, Palimpsest, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra, as part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at Miller Theater, Columbia University (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, will be premiered as part of a September 2018 residency at The Stone in New York. As a writer and radio producer, he has contributed to National Public Radio, AfroPop Worldwide, and John Zorn’s “Arcana XVIII: Musicians on Music.” Eisenstadt is also an active member of New York’s AfroCuban 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 three times to research Afro-Cuban music.

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