DR. RUSS ZOKAITES: FRESNO STATE UNIVERSITY
Russ Zokaites has had a diverse career as a musician and trombonist. His performance credits include, recording the Fuchs Bass Trombone Concerto with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own,” performances with the Dayton Philharmonic, Kentucky Symphony, Bergen Philharmonic (Norway), The Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, and live on Netherlands Radio 4. He has performed with many great musicians including Joseph Alessi and YouTube Star Christopher Bill. In 2014, Zokaites recorded the #1 pop hit in the Netherlands with the band Sunday Sun. Zokaites has collaborated with over 35 composers including Grammy Award winning Kenneth Fuchs, American Prize winner Martin Hebel, and Inez McComas. Dr. Zokaites keeps an active schedule as a guest performer performing at such schools as, the Manhattan School of Music, New York University, Wright State University and University of California, Davis.
Dr. Zokaites serves as the Lecturer of Trombone and Euphonium at Fresno State University in California. His solo album is published by Centaur Records and is available through Naxos. Russ was a Fellow at the 2013 Alessi Seminar hosted by Joseph Alessi of the New York Philharmonic. He is an artist with endorsements from Lätzsch Custom Brass and Monster Oil.
Zokaites’ work in new music consists of interdisciplinary collaborations and social commentary. Mood Swings (2021, McGillicuddy, Findley) presents music composed during the COVID-19 pandemic. His recent album Bootleg (2021, Fuchs, Edwards, Hebel, Timmons) uses folk tunes and elements of American music to convey aspect of Appalachian Identity. The Wild Called Maxx (2016, Whitney George composer, Sammy Lopez illustrator) combines original and popular music with an illustrated story book about a young millennial searching for a home. The Ghettoblaster Project (2014, the Netherlands) showcased seven compositions recycling noise pollution through a wall of 1980’s boomboxes. Transformative Perspectives (2014, the Netherlands) combined poetry and music in humorous social observation.
Many of these projects have been presented at international conferences. Russ was a featured soloist at the 2021 and 2019 American Trombone Workshops, performing with the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” He gave full recitals at the 2022, 2019, and 2018 International Trombone Festival. Further performances took place at the 2023, 2021 ITF, and 2016 International Horn Symposium. As an advocate for his commissioned works, the works composed for him have been performed by the Iceland Symphony, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, several military bands, prominent American trombonists and many professors and students.
As a trombone choir conductor, Zokaites’ choirs performed at the 2023 International Trombone Festival, won an honorable mention in the 2016 International Trombone Association Remington Choir competition, performed at the 2016 American Trombone Workshop, and he prepared the 2018 Latzsch Festival choir for a performance conducted by Christian Lindberg.
Russ has been active as an organizer across the globe. He served as the Festival Coordinator for the 2018 and 2014 Lätzsch Trombone Festivals (NL/Germany) where he worked with some of the worlds leading trombonists included Zoltan Kiss, Carol Jarvis, Randy Hawes, Stefan Schulz, and many others. In 2013, Zokaites organized the ArtSEdeZ festival for new music in Zwolle, Enschede, and Arnhem (NL).
Dr. Russ Zokaites holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, University of South Carolina, and ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de kunsten (NL). He had further studies at the Aspen Music Festival and School. His main teachers include Brad Edwards, Pete Norton, Peter van Klink, John Rojak and Timothy Anderson. Dr. Zokaites previously served as the Visiting Assistant Professor of Trombone at Morehead State University for four years.