Brian Shankar Adler is a multidisciplinary drummer, percussionist, and composer whose music spans the globe from the sacred to the absurd. Most at home playing a set of drums augmented with found objects and percussive instruments from India and South America, critics have noted the ways in which his percolating rhythms carry the music forward with grace. "Adler's music flows organically in pursuit of mystery, movingly existing in an ultimate state of fluidity," says Jordan Richardson of Canadian Audiophile.
Born with the name Shankar, Adler was raised in an ashram. It was there, at the age of five that he began his musical training, reciting classical Indian drum syllables and providing the heartbeat for chants on a mridang. Adler remembers extended silent retreats where the quieter human sounds and sounds of the environment felt like a melody to him. An inner musical compass soon took control and led him from bhajans and Hindustani music to psychedelic rock, avant-garde jazz, tango, Jewish music, opera and new music.
Upon graduating from New England Conservatory in 2005, Adler has resided in New York City. He has presented music in halls, clubs, museums, and sacred spaces including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Rubin Museum, Smalls, Roulette, and Joe's Public Theater. He has been recorded on over thirty albums and has worked with: Bash the Trash, La Bomba de Tiempo, Bombay Rickey, Chelsea Clinton, Guillermo Klein, Sheila Jordan, Frank London, LA Opera, Kate McGarry, Kamala Sankaram and Elizabeth Swados. He has been featured on WNYC's "New Sounds," Jason Bivin's book "Spirits Rejoice" and has written, helped to develop or perform on various film, commercial and theatrical scores including "Of Many," "Nomad" and "Thumbprint."
Invested in the continued output of creative music, Adler operates Circavision Productions, a production company and boutique record label that has released ten records and hundreds of shows. Adler also leads the Human Time Machine, a group of improvising drummers that use hand signals to shape rhythms in real time and (Shankar), an ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions.
Adler teaches in Brooklyn and Vermont. His approach is one that embraces paradoxical inquiry, the development of the ear and one's personal voice. In 2013, he published A World of Percussion a book that creates and explores windows into rhythmic concepts from around the globe.