Will Eisma was born on May 13, 1929 at Sungailiat (Indonesia).
In 1946 Eisma came to The Netherlands. From 1948 to 1953 he studied violin with Jewsey Wulf and Oscar Back at the Rotterdam Conservatory and counterpoint and composition with George Stam and Kees van Baaren at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He continued his studies abroad with André Gertler (violin) and Goffredo Petrassi at the Academia of Santa Cecilia in Rome, where he was awarded his MA in composition in 1961. Later he studied electronic music at the Institute for Sonology in Utrecht with Gottfried Koenig and Frits Weiland.
As a violinist he has appeared as a soloist, mainly as a performer of contemporary music. He was a member of the Italian string ensemble Societé Corelli, with which he toured in India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Canada, France and Germany. He worked in the Studio of Sonology in Utrecht, at NTSU in Denton (Texas 1972), at the State University of N.Y. in Albany and in the studio of Radio Hilversum. From 1973 he was director of Studio Five Roses and his electro-instrumental group I.C.E. Since 1981 he is a member of the Composers Forum in New York.
As of 1950 his compositions display a rhythmically modern style, influenced by Bartók and Stravinsky. A change in style became evident in his compositions dating after 1956. Both technically in composition as well as the content of the works began to show a more or less a serial-like language. Since 1961 Eisma has concentrated on electronic music composition recorded on tape. As from 1963 his interest was directed to more graphically notated scores. Archipel (1964) was the topic of a doctoral study by Paul Kuik: The role of tonal color in post-war string quartet compositions (University of Amsterdam, December 1984). During his youth in Indonesia, Eisma was several times in contact with gamelan music. In 1977 he was asked to compose a work for the pelog gamelan of the Municipal Museum in The Hague: Liwing for gamelan and tape. The large number of compositions written for children and amateur musicians should not be left unmentioned.
Concertpiece for violin and orchestra was awarded the Bela Bartok Prize of the Indiana University at Bloomington (USA) and Sonatine for flute won the Visser Neerlandia Prijs 1963. In 1972 Eisma received the ISCM Prize in Rome for the electronic composition Newsreel sunday. In 1976 he was awarded the Culture Prize of the city of Hilversum.