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Paul Merkelo: “Tell a Story When You Play and Believe In Your Own Story”


This interview with acclaimed trumpeter Paul Merkelo offers a comprehensive exploration of his musical journey, pedagogical influences, and the dual roles he embraces as a principal orchestral player and soloist. Merkelo delves into his early immersion in music, recounting the pivotal moment when he discovered the trumpet’s captivating sound in a school band setting. His insightful reflections on studying with renowned trumpeter Bud Herseth highlight the emphasis on musicality and storytelling in Herseth’s teachings, principles that continue to resonate in Merkelo’s own pedagogical approach.

The interview also sheds light on Merkelo’s trumpet heroes, including Ray Sasaki, Adolph Herseth, and Timofei Dokshizer, whose diverse styles and creative approaches have left a lasting impact on his musical identity. Merkelo discusses the challenges and rewards of pursuing both orchestral and soloist careers, offering valuable insights for aspiring musicians navigating similar paths. Moreover, he shares personal anecdotes, such as the profound influence of Leonard Bernstein and the transformative experience of performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Merkelo provides a glimpse into his upcoming album, showcasing his mastery of Russian concertos and the collaboration with the Russian National Orchestra. The interview concludes with Merkelo’s thoughts on balancing career demands, navigating the pandemic’s impact on his musical pursuits, and exciting projects on the horizon. Throughout the interview, Merkelo imparts valuable advice for aspiring musicians, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a unique voice through meticulous practice and a genuine connection to the music.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music