“Harris Eisenstadt, a drummer and composer originally from Toronto, takes a fixer’s approach to music making, looking for ways to fit the pieces together. In his own music especially, he often seems intent on extracting consonance from dissonance or forging ungainliness into grace.” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times).
“An inventive drummer who sounds unlike anyone else.” (Scott Yanow, Jazz Inside)
One of only a handful of drummers equally well known for his work as a composer, the Brooklyn resident is among the most individual and prolific musicians of his generation. His eclectic resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in jazz and improvised music, West African and Cuban drumming, and performances in genres ranging from film and theater to poetry and dance to contemporary classical and opera.
Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both a bandleader and in-demand sideman, he has performed all over the globe, been awarded 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 seventeen as a leader. Recordings of his compositions since 2002 often appear on the Songlines, Clean Feed, and 482 Music labels, and are consistently included on critics’ best-of lists. New releases for 2016 include “Old Growth Forest” and “Canada Day V:IV” (both on Clean Feed).
Eisenstadt’s album Woodblock Prints (No Business) was named album of the year (2010), and he was included on the short list for composer of the year (2010 and 2012) and drummer of the year (2013) in the El Intruso international critics poll. Other recent honors: nominations for Up and Coming Artist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association (2009), included in Rising Star Composer (2009), Arranger (2015) and Percussion (2012-2015) categories of the Downbeat international critics poll.
His first work for orchestra, Palimpsest, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra (2011), as part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at Miller Theater, Columbia University. Eisenstadt’s second orchestral work, Four Songs, commissioned by the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, was premiered in 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum. His first string quartet was premiered in 2015 as part of Eisenstadt’s twelve-set residency at The Stone in NYC. As a writer and radio producer, he has contributed to National Public Radio and AfroPop Worldwide, distributed by Public Radio International. He is a visiting instructor in the humanities department at SUNY Maritime College, and an adjunct instructor in New York University’s McGhee Division.
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