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 recently earned her MFA in World Percussion at the California Institute of the Arts.
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 toured and recorded extensively with BØRNS, as well as worked with CAM, Scary Pockets, Trixie Mattell, ELLA VOS, Mike Taylor, LPX, Wilder Woods, Total Brutal, and more. She has performance credit on the platinum-selling single "Electric Love" and the 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. 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.
Her playing was recently featured on the ABC show "A Million Little Things" and in the score of the Netflix show "Uncoupled". She developed the curriculum for Groove Theory and Arrangement courses at ICON Collective College 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.
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, created the femme community group "Femme Frequency" at ICON Collective College of Music, and is a judge for 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 competed in the contest in 2022.
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.