Brian Shankar Adler is a multidisciplinary percussionist and composer. Described as "a polyrhythmic force… New York City gritty yet still somehow capable of evoking the delicacy of a summer breeze…” (JazzTimes), his work transcends the terrain between genre and geographic region, asking: how can we find connection through rhythm?


Adler has performed in caves, forests and adjacent glacial ice fields as well as Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and The Stone. He has been recorded on over fifty albums including his solo works: For a Gallery on the Moon (Chant Records, 2020), Fourth Dimension (Chant Records, 2019), and his recent collaboration: Air Space: Cricket Cipher (Adhyâropa Records, 2024).


Playing primarily a hybrid drum set that includes North Indian tabla, Argentine bombo legüero and found objects, Adler's work explores the perception of time, the communicative properties of embodied gesture and the existential questions that reside in the human condition. With equal focus on improvisational and compositional practices, he uses rhythm as a tool for collaboration.


An accomplished composer, Adler’s works have been cited as “profoundly exquisite… striking interior chords, where the heart and the mind's inner ear intersect..." (All About Jazz). He was commissioned to compose "A Memory of Fire" for Palaver Strings, "We Are a Body of Water" for the Bates College gamelan orchestra and Appleton Rum’s “Find Your Rhythm” ad campaign. Adler has received multiple awards including a Composer's Now grant, an ASCAP Plus award and a residency at Antenna Cloud Farm


Brian Shankar Adler has toured, performed and recorded with Ballet Hispanico’s Doña Perón, Kamala Sankaram’s operas Thumbprint (LA Opera), A Rose (Houston Grand Opera) and The Jungle Book (Glimmerglass), and Elizabeth Swados’ final theatrical productions The Nomad and The Golem. He traveled to Germany to perform with singer Sunny Kim and Kuwait to perform with oudist Ahmed Alshaiba. Adler has been featured in Jason Bivins’ book "Spirits Rejoice," The Center For Deep Listening's "A Year of Deep Listening," NPR's "New Sounds," PBS's "Next at the Kennedy Center'' as well as Downbeat and Modern Drummer Magazine. His music video, “Mantra” won best music video at Transcinema International Film Festival in Peru and an official selection at Quiet City Film Festival in New York City.


In 2013, Brian Shankar Adler was the guest soloist with La Bomba de Tiempo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He returned to the states to create Human Time Machine, a percussion ensemble that would hold a three year residency at Barbès as well as performances at the Queens World Fair and Roulette Intermedium.


Adler has also worked with: Kinan Azmeh, Jay Clayton, Jane Ira Bloom, Guillermo Klein, The Michael Leonhart Orchestra, Frank London, Kate McGarry, Matt Moran, Mali Obomsawin, Emilio Teubal and Ray Vega. He is a member of Bombay Rickey and performs environmental-activism with Bash the Trash.


Lifetime Arts/National Guild grant winner, Brian Shankar Adler has revolutionized the accessibility of rhythmic pedagogy. In 2013, he published A World of Percussion connecting rhythm, language, mathematics and environment through a study of shared musical concepts from around the globe. Adler is currently on faculties at: Bates, Bowdoin College and Vermont Jazz Center. He is a Vic Firth and Schlagwerk artist and has offered masterclasses and residencies internationally.