A.J. Merlino

A.J. Merlino's Biography

A.J. Merlino's intense and versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist. His playing has taken him to many countries around the world, including Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. A resident of 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. He also worked on 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, festivals, and has worked for the International House of Blues with Kurt Rasmussen.

One of the few cimbalom soloists 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, Vox Ama Deus Ensemble, and Temple University. He can be heard on several recordings including Lost Vegas (principal percussionist, UNLV Wind Orchestra), Rebels in Paris (soloist/percussionist, Vox Ama Deus Ensemble), Just Play (percussionist, The Colt Kayser Band), and Ventanas (principal percussionist, UNLV Wind Orchestra).

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 six-mallet marimba and choir by Los Angeles composer Justin Raines and new works for 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 a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University, a Master of Music degree from University of Nevada Las Vegas, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Merlino is currently on faculty at Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

A.J. Merlino's Gear
A.J. Merlino