Drummer, percussionist, writer and educator Kristen Gleeson-Prata was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She grew up listening to 70s funk, the Rat Pack and Al Green and fell in love with drums after seeing Billy Cobham in concert with her dad when she was nine. After attending DePaul University’s School of Music and transferring to Berklee College of Music, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Drumset Performance and moved to Los Angeles. She just recently earned her MFA degree in World Percussion at California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.
She has studied drumset with John “JR” Robinson, Chris Coleman, Aaron Sterling, Kenny Aronoff, John Blackwell, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kim Plainfield, Jamey Haddad, Bill Ransom, Steve Wilkes, and Dave DiCenso, and world percussion with Randy Gloss, Andrew Grueschow, Yeko Ladzekpo-Cole, Joe Galeota, Jamey Haddad, Marcus Santos, and Eitetsu Hayashi.
She has worked professionally with BØRNS, Scary Pockets, CAM, Mike Taylor, LPX, Trixie Mattell, Wilder Woods, Emma White, Tigertown, Bay Ledges, Kenton Chen, Morgxn, Abby Posner, Rachel Crow, Mario Jose, Francisca Valenzuela, Shirley Manson, We Are King, and many others. She has performance credit on platinum-selling single "Electric Love" and gold-selling album "Dopamine" (BØRNS), has contributed drum samples and live loops to Output software Arcade, appeared on the TV show School of Rock, and was featured alongside Sheila E., Stewart Copeland, Kenny Aronoff and Evelyn Glennie in Hunger Relief International's 2018 campaign.
Her playing was recently featured on the ABC show "A Million Little Things" and will be featured in the score of the upcoming Netflix show "Uncoupled". She developed the curriculum for "Groove Theory" and "Arrangement" courses at ICON Collective School of Music, has taught African Drumming at AMDA-LA, is trained as a drum circle facilitator by Arthur Hull and Christine Stevens, and has an extensive private student roster. She is endorsed by Tama drums, Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks and Remo drumheads and percussion and writes for Modern Drummer and Tom Tom magazines. She was featured in Modern Drummer in 2017 and was nominated in the 2018 Modern Drummer Readers Poll in the "Up and Coming" category. She is known for her impeccable time, feel-good pocket, powerful yet tasteful touch, stylistic versatility, and bright personality.
Kristen is passionate about providing outreach to women and girls in the music industry. She is a regular volunteer at Rock and Roll Camp for Girls LA, helped spearhead the femme community group "Femme Frequency" at ICON Collective, and was recently a judge in the Hit Like A Girl drumming contest. She also spearheaded a campaign to send online lesson memberships, drumsticks, and drumheads to the displaced Ukrainian drummers who entered the contest.
Notable TV appearances: The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, CONAN, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Last Call with Carson Daly
Notable festivals and venues: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Coachella Festival, Lollapalooza Festival, Falls Festival, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Outside Lands Festival, ACL, PASIC, Greek Theater LA, Hollywood Bowl, Radio City Music Hall, and Amoeba Records