- Teaches students:
- Ages 10+
- Teaching since:
- September 2006
Berk S., trombone, is a performer and educator living in the Houston area. Berk earned his M.M. from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music and a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with James DeSano. As a professional he has developed his goal to serve as an advocate for the arts through creative performances that resonate with a 21st century audience, interactive community outreach, and education that reflects both the time-honored traditions of Western classical music and the realities facing today’s young musicians. His musical experiences have taken him across the globe, from Saint Peters Basilica, Vatican City with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas performing a Mozart Mass under the direction of Helmuth Rilling, to Carnegie Hall with Maestro Valery Gergiev and Ravel's Bolero. Berk has toured the Western Hemisphere extensively, teaching and performing in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Uruguay with the Youth Orchestra of the Americas directed by Carlos Miguel Prieto. In the United States, Berk has performed with the Akron and Youngstown Symphony Orchestras in Ohio and the Aspen Festival Orchestra, directed by David Zinman and Robert Spano. He has also played bass trombone for Carl Topilow and the Firelands Symphony Orchestra during its 2009-2010 season. In the spring of 2010 he was selected as a finalist in the International Trombone Association Marsteller Competition. As an avid contemporary musician Berk has commissioned and performed many new creative works. Collaborations include “Catch” by Kevin Dee and “Pink to Blue” by Ryan Lester (2010-2012). A grant awarded to him by the Hilda and Hershel Rich Family Endowment for Student Community Service funded the premier of "Procession," a trombone concerto by Seung-ah Oh, recipient of the Buma Toonzetters Prize. In addition he has composed and performed his own music in collaboration with Houston based Da Camera of Houston, Two Star Symphony, and the Shepherd School Composers Outside the Lines:An Un-Concert. Berk is an avid educator and supporter of creative teaching methods, maintaining a large studio of private low brass students in Houston. Many of his students have gone on to pursue music professionally. Berk plans on returning to Ecuador this summer to teach with the Sociedad Fondo Jovenes Talentos in Guayaquil and perform the Tomasi Trombone Concerto.
*** Lesson Details ***
Please contact me with any additional inquires. I will send you a detailed syllabus and a list of materials you will need while studying with me.
“In addition to being a great musician and teacher, Berk S. is the utmost professional in all he has done for Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. Whether through communication, adjudication, instruction, or performance, Berk has kept a very high standard. We are happy to have Berk with us!”
Ben Ware, Director of Bands at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, June 28, 2011, Ben worked directly with Berk at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory
“Berk performed and recorded several of my compositions and it was always evident that Berk is one of the best trombone players and finest musicians out there. Due to his tremendously diligent work-ethic and level of professionalism, he is always prepared for his commitments and brings a refreshing amount of enthusiasm to everything he performs. Incredibly accurate with impeccable intonation and rhythm, it is always a pleasure and a gift to be able to work with Berk.”
Ryan Lester, Composer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Criminal Minds, August 20, 2011, Ryan advised Berk at Oberlin College
“Being a senior at Cypress Woods High School I have had good amount of Lesson teachers over the years, both Bass Trombone and Tenor. It’s safe for me to say that Berk S. has been one of the best lesson teachers by far that I have had, and I would not have been able to make it through this year without him. As a Bass Trombonist I have learned so much from Berk, he makes the lessons stress free and enjoyable while at the same time keeping a (mostly) serious tone throughout the lesson. His instruction has proven most valuable to my success as I just received my acceptance letter to Sam Houston's School of Music.”
Ryan Carr, Bass Trombone, studied with Berk at Cypress Woods High School 2012-14, currently a student at Sam Houston School of Music.
“I am in my senior year of high school, and I have had a decent number of teachers, clinicians, and directors to study with. I can honestly say that he is one of the best teachers I have ever had. Not only is he great at communicating with his students, but he is able to not make one feel intimidated, like I have felt with some teachers, but instead creates an environment where it's easy to exchange ideas and learn. On top of that, he is a great player, and a great teacher. I have learned the most from him this year than any other teacher I've had so far, and he was able to help me with auditions for region, college, and drum corps, from everything to audition etiquette, dealing with nerves, and time management. And, most importantly, I have grown as a musician, and as a performer, and have learned many things about trombone, music, and education that I will take with me for a long time.”
Mason Wallis, Tenor Trombone, studied with Berk at Cypress Woods High School 2012-14, currently a student at The School of Music at The University of Arizona.
“I have had many trombone teachers over several years, and Berk is by far the very best I have ever had. He's taught me to play music that is harder than I could ever learn to play, but now it is quite feasible with his teaching methodology. Berk is awesome!”
Lana Huston, Tenor Trombone, studied with Berk privately 2010-13.
“My daughter has been taking lesson from Berk the past year and she has improved tremendously. Her tone is beautiful now; sounding almost like a french horn. She has also won several first places in solo contests which I know would not have happened without Berk's help! We will sign up for another year! Thanks Berk!”
Mother of Lana Huston..
*** Specialties ***
Orchestral and solo performance.