Harris Eisenstadt - Bio

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)

Eisenstadt’s recordings are consistently included on critics’ best-of lists, and he has been included in the Rising Star Percussion and Arranger categories of the Downbeat international critics poll the last several years. His music often appears on the Songlines, Clean Feed, Astral Spirits, and No Business labels, on more than sixty recordings since 2000, including over twenty as a leader.

Eisenstadt’s first orchestral work, Palimpsest, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra (2011). His second piece for orchestra, Four Songs, was commissioned by the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra (2013). Eisenstadt’s first string quartet, Whatever Will Happen, That Will Also Be, was recorded by Mivos Quartet (2015).

Eisenstadt has performed all over the globe, received grants from organizations such as South Arts, Meet The Composer, American Composers Forum, Durfee Foundation, and the Canada Council.

Poschiavo 50, a collection of fifty compositions for ensembles of any size was composed in residency at the UnCool residency in Poschiavo, Switzerland (2017). All fifty pieces have been performed by various ensembles in the US, Switzerland, Brazil, Cuba, and Canada. The first batch was documented on Canada Day Quartet Live (2019), recorded live on tour in Europe.

 Eisenstadt has contributed radio programs, articles, and podcasts to National Public Radio, Public Radio International, Afropop Worldwide, and John Zorn’s Arcana.


He is an active member of New York’s ceremonial batá drumming community (as an omo aña), and a longtime researcher in African and Diaspora traditions. He has researched Mandinka and Wolof music in Gambia and Senegal, and travels to Cuba regularly for batá studies.


In 2020 Eisenstadt completed the first chapter in the ongoing music and film project titled We Are All Worthy of One Another, a collaboration with the Matanzas, Cuba artist collective El Almacén, involving over thirty Cuban folkloric and classical musicians and crew.