A.J. Merlino, D.M.A.
Hailed as, “One of New York’s most exciting musicians…” A.J. Merlino’s intense and versatile performing style has made him a highly sought after percussionist. His playing has taken him around the world including Scotland, Croatia, Greece, Thailand, Australia, and Argentina. While residing in Las Vegas, he performed for special events 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.
A.J. 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 in the United States and abroad.
A.J. Merlino currently serves as the percussionist for Remember Jones, We Used to Cut the Grass, Bella Vita, and performs as a soloist for an electronic percussion show entitled Percussion avec l’électronique. He can be heard of various recordings including: Ladies and Gentlemen, Remember Jones! – Percussionist for Remember Jones, Stranger Heads Prevail – Percussionist for Thank You Scientist, Woodpecker – Percussionist for We Used to Cut the Grass, Lost Vegas – Soloist and Principal Percussionist for UNLV Wind Orchestra CD, Welcome to Las Vegas – Ragtime Rebels Marimba Band, Rebels in Paris – Soloist and Section Percussionist for Vox Ama Deus Ensemble, Colt Kayser EP – Percussionist for 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 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 percussion performance degrees from Kutztown University and the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree. A.J. Merlino is the Director of Music Industry Studies and Assistant Professor at Albright College, Instructor of Music at Kutztown University, and CEO of the Reading Samba School.