Featured Performers

Charleen Ayers, Soprano
Lee Merrill, Soprano
John Beck, Percussion
Earle Louder, Euphonium
Larry Zalkind, Trombone

Charleen Ayers

Charleen Ayers grew up and took some of her musical training in Missouri. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance. She spent several summers on a vocal fellowship at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony. She has enjoyed high honors in many vocal competitions over the years, including the San Francisco and Metropolitan Opera auditions, and was a national finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artists (NATS) Awards. Charleen is an active performer in opera, musical theater, and oratoria. Her favorite roles include Marsinah in Kismet, Amalia Balash in She Loves Me, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinfore, Mimi in La Boheme, and the title role in The Merry Widow. She has made solo appearances with over 65 orchestras, including the orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Honolulu, and San Francisco.

Lee Merrill

Equally at home in opera, drama, and musical theatre, the versatile Ms. Merrill’s credits include leading roles with Opera Omaha, Edmonton Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Texas Opera Theatre and the Chautauqua Opera. She has appeared in nearly 100 musical theatre productions of major performances throughout the United States. Lee Merrill has been warded the “Spirit of the American Woman Award” by Beverly Sills for extraordinary contributions to the arts. Ms. Merrill lives in Springfield OH with her husband coach/accompanist David Hapner and their two children.

John Beck

John R. Beck is currently on the faculty at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Prior to this, he performed regularly with the National and Baltimore Symphonies, Washington and Baltimore Operas, and the Theater Chamber Players of the Kennedy Center. His performances also include the Las Vegas Marimba Quartet, Brass Band of Battle Creek, and the Contemporary Music Forum in Washington, D.C. John has recorded and performed commercial music with touring Broadway shows, as well as jazz, Dixieland and Top 40 bands.

A former member and national tour soloist with the United States Marine Band, Beck now tours as xylophone soloist with the Jack Daniel's Silver Cornet Band and the New Sousa Band. His solo appearances also include the Buffalo Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony, Pottstown Symphony, and the Alexandria Symphony.

Beck has served on the faculties of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Shenandoah University, George Washington University, the Washington Conservatory of Music, and the New England Music Camp. An active Yamaha clinician, he has presented clinics and master classes at colleges and universities across the United States.

North Carolina School of the Arts Percussion Page

Earle Louder

Dr. Louder is retired Distinguished Professor Emeritus of euphonium and tuba from Morehead State University, Kentucky, where he also served as Resident-Artist for 27 years. Before his tenure at Morehead State, he was for 12 seasons principal and featured euphonium soloist and head of the brass department of "The World Famous United States Navy Band", Washington, D.C., and he conducted the Navy Band Ceremonial Unit. Before his service with the Navy Band, he was principal euphonium and assistant conductor of the 46th Infantry Div. Band of the Michigan State National Guard.

His education includes an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, studying under the renowned euphonium artist Leonard V. Falcone. His doctoral work was completed at Florida State University from which he holds the distinction of being the first person to complete the Doctor of Music degree in Euphonium Performance.

Acclaimed as one of the finest euphonium virtuosos of all time, Dr. Louder performs on three low brass instruments -- trombone, tuba and euphonium -- a rare achievement for professional musicians. Dr. Louder is also in great demand as a guest euphonium soloist, clinician, adjudicator, and conductor in the United States and internationally. Currently, he is principal and featured euphonium soloist with Keith Brion's "New Sousa Band", Dr. Leonard B. Smith's "Detroit Concert Band" and Blossom Music Center Festival Band", and a performer on euphonium with the newly-formed euphonium/tuba ensemble "Symphonia." He is a permanent faculty member at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.

Larry Zalkind

Larry Zalkind, Principal Trombone for the Utah Symphony, began his trombone studies at the age of 8. His first choice had been the trumpet, after hearing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. But his elementary school music teacher, Nora Graham, declared to the third grader after finding no trumpets available, "You look like a trombone player to me". His early teachers included Harold Diner and Norman Bernstein. In the eighth grade he entered the California Institute of the Arts Youth Program where he where he would study through high school. At Cal Arts he studied trombone with Byron Peebles and coached chamber music with Los Angeles Tubist Tommy Johnson. He then began his studies at the University of Southern California with Robert Marsteller. At USC he studied Music Education, and received a Bachelor and Master degree in music. After Marsteller’s untimely death in 1975 he worked with Lewis Van Haney, and then with Terry Cravens through his masters degree. He also studied extensively with Ralph Sauer during his college years, and made frequent trips to Chicago to study with Arnold Jacobs. Mr. Zalkind also received valuable supplemental lessons from Jimmy Stamp, Tommy Johnson, and Jeff Reynolds during his college years, and would continue to work with Mr. Sauer and Mr. Peebles well into his professional career. Mr. Zalkind studied jazz improvisation with Charlie Shoemake from 1977-1980, and Bill Watrous in the summer of 1978.

Mr. Zalkind won the Saunderson Award at the Coleman Chamber Music Competition in 1976. Since 1990 he has toured, recorded and performed extensively as a member of the Summit Brass on Trombone and Euphonium. In addition, he has performed with Chamber Music Northwest in Portland Oregon, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson Wyoming, and with the Elkhorn Music Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho. He has performed and recorded with the Chicago, Atlanta, and St. Louis Symphonies, and performed as a member of the Long Beach Symphony before moving to Utah. He has been featured as soloist with the Fairbanks Symphony, The Southwest Symphony, The West Los Angeles Symphony, the Billings Symphony, the Twin Falls Symphony, the Macon Symphony, the Central Oregon Symphony, the New Sousa Band, the Ringgold Band, the Burbank (California) Chamber Orchestra, and the Pierce Symphonic Winds. On the Euphonium he was the Solo Euphonium with the Long Beach Municipal Band from 1977-1980, and has been a member of the Tubadors tuba quartet.

This coming season, Mr. Zalkind will again be participating in the Rafael Mendez/Summit Brass Institute in Denver, and performing at the Grand Teton Music Festival. He will also give recitals and master classes around the country, including Northwestern University, California State University at Fullerton, and the University of Kansas. In May he will be featured as soloist in the Concerto for Trombone by Christopher Rouse, performed for the International Trombone Festival. Mr. Zalkind has released two solo CD’s on the Summit Records label with a third on the way later in the year. His first CD, Larry Zalkind Plays Baroque Music on the Trombone, features Baroque music on the trombone in different settings, and his second CD, Encore! features different types of encores performed with trombone and piano (Both available at
www.zalkindmusic.com). His third CD, due for release in June, and also on the Summit Record Label, will include the Persichetti Trio for Trombone, Viola and Cello, and the Concerto for Trombone (Trombone Tales) by Henry Wolking in the live performance of the world premiere in conjunction with the Utah Symphony.

Mr. Zalkind is the Adjunct Professor of Trombone at the University of Utah, and has been a faculty member for 25 years. He also currently teaches at Westminster College. He has served as recitalist and clinician for the International Trombone Association Trombone Festival, the 76+4 Trombone Workshop at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference. He has served on the faculty of the Hartwick Summer Music Festival in New York, the Marrowstone Music Festival in Port Townsend, Washington, the Batiquitos Festival of the Arts in San Diego, and the Grand Teton Orchestral Seminar in Wyoming. He has held faculty positions at Cerritos College in California, Albion College in Michigan, Weber State College in Utah, and the Idlewild School of Music and the Arts.

Mr. Zalkind’s wife, Roberta, is the Associate Principal Violist of the Utah Symphony, and they are both proud of their three children: Benjamin, Matthew, and Aaron.

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