Julian Gerstin, PhD is a percussionist, composer and ethnomusicologist. At the Vermont Jazz Center, Julian co-leads the Latin Jazz Ensemble with Eugene Uman and the Samba Ensemble with Ron Kelly, and runs a Rhythm Theory course at the Summer Jazz Workshop. He also serves on the VJC Board as President and a member of the Grants Committee.
Julian’s percussive explorations have led him to study and perform folk traditions of Ghana, Cuba, Martinique, Brazil and other African/Diasporic countries, as well popular styles of Nigeria, South Africa, Martinique, Cuba, Brazil, Trinidad, Jamaica, Mexico and others. His work in jazz has ranged from New Orleans brass bands to avant-garde experimentalism. He has toured and recorded with numerous world music acts including Baba Ken Okulolo and Zulu Spear. Julian currently leads the Julian Gerstin Sextet, playing his compositions of jazz influenced by Caribbean and Balkan music, and works with the Latin jazz group Trio Mambo, Puerto Rican folkloric dance ensemble Bomba de Aquí, and the Pioneer Valley Arab Music Ensemble. He has composed for and accompanied numerous theater, dance and choral ensembles.
In the academic world, Julian taught music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, Clark University, Marlboro College and Keene State College. He studied and performed traditional music in Martinique in 1993-95, and his work there has led to numerous scholarly publications and two CD compilations of Martinican traditions. He studied Cuban music with such notables as the group Cutumba in Santiago de Cuba, Sandy Perez, John Santos, Michael Spiro and John Amira. Julian is co-author with Ken Dalluge of the book The Musician’s Guide to Rhythm, a practical approach to rhythmic understanding and creativity for all instruments. He is currently a student in the Music Composition MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.