Kutztown University professor performs Nov. 4

A.J. Merlino

A.J. Merlino presents a PercussionFaculty Recital on Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre of Schaeffer, Kutztown University.

Toccataby Anders Koppel features Frank Kumor, percussion.

Tchik by Nicolas Martynciow.

Devil Dance by Payton MacDonald features Susanna Loewy, flute.

Temazcal by Javier Alvarezfeaturing Katherine Douventzidis, dance.

Coming Home by Dean Gronemeier.

A.J. Merlinos intense and versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist for the past decade. His playing has taken him around the world including Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. While residing in Las Vegas, he has been seen performing on the Las Vegas strip with such artists as Jay-Z, Redfoo of LMFAO, Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers, Eric Marienthal, and Cee Lo Green for the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. He has also collaborated with famed percussionists Michito Sanchez, Pepe Jimenez, Christian Tamburr, Bernie Dresel, and Kurt Rasmussen.

Merlino has worked as music director, composer and performer for many projects held at The Venetian, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas as well as the production show Resurrecting Sin City, which premiered in Las Vegas and traveled to Adelaide, Australia. As a clinician, he has presented to numerous colleges, high schools, and festivals and has worked for the International House of Blues Foundation.

One of the few cimbalom artists in the country, Merlino has performed as a soloist on this instrument with various college and professional ensembles, such as Moravian Wind Symphony, Reading Symphony Orchestra, and Vox Ama Deus Ensemble. He can be heard on several recordings including Lost Vegas (principle percussionist, UNLV Wind Orchestra), Rebels in Paris (soloist/percussionist, Vox Ama Deus Ensemble), and Just Play (percussionist, The Colt Kayser Band).

A strong supporter of new music, Merlino uses his diverse skills on dozens of percussion instruments to commission new works from up and coming composers, such as a work for marimba and choir by Los Angeles composer Justin Raines and a new works for six-mallet marimba by Casey Cangelosi and Pius Cheung. His work with new music also extends to numerous premieres utilizing various instrumentations by David T. Little, Virko Bailey, Jim Barnes, Scott Steele, Eric Whitacre, and Michael Daugherty.

Merlino holds percussion performance degrees from Kutztown University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he is pursuing his DMA. His instructors include Frank Kumor, Willis Rapp, Kurt Rasmussen, Timothy Jones, and Dean Gronemeier.

A.J. Merlino is a performing and educational artist for the Paiste cymbal company, Innovative Percussion, and the Remo drum company.