Andrew Cyrille was born in Brooklyn, NY. As well as studying privately, he attended the Juilliard and Hartnett schools of music. He has performed with Jazz artists ranging from Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet and Mary Lou Williams to Kenny Dorham, Muhal Richard Abrams, Horace Tapscott, John Carter,Mal Waldron and David Murray. In 1964 he formed and association with pianist Cecil Taylor that would last for 11 years. He played drums for many notable dancer-choreogrphers from the mid to late 1960’s.
He was artist-residence and teacher at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio from 1971 to 1973. Cyrille has also taught at the Graham Windham Home for Children in New York. He is currently a faculty member at the New School University (formally The New School for Social Research) in New York City. His sterling work has earned him a number of grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer, including a commission to create a new work for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company in 1990. In 1999, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition.
Starting in 1969, Cyrille began to organize the first of several percussion groups, including Dialogue of the Drums, Pieces of Time, and Weights and Measures. Some of the distinguished artists who played in these groups were Kenny Clark, Milford Graves, Famoudou Don Moye, Michael Carvin and Obo Addy. Starting in 1988 through the present time, he has toured and performed here and abroad with the renown Russian percussionist, Vladimir Tarasov.