Marko Marcinko has served as director of jazz studies at Penn State since fall 2016. During his years in the music industry, faculty guest artist he has worked as a freelance musician playing drum set, percussion, piano/keyboards, bass guitar, and trombone. He has also served as a studio session player, arranger, musical director and producer for numerous commercial jingles, indie-films and off-Broadway, club and theater engagements.
Born in Archbald, Pennsylvania, Marcinko studied technique with drumming master Joe Morello and continued his training at the University of Miami where he studied classical, jazz, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles under professors Fred Wickstrom, Steve Bagby, Steve Rucker, Harry Hawthorne, and Ney Resaro.
He came onto the international music scene in 1994 while touring and recording with trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson. He served as drummer and arranger for Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band for three years, and appears on the Concord recording “One More Trip To Birdland”.
Over the years, Marko has played with jazz greats Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, Clark Terry, Bob Dorough, Red Rodney, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Mulgrew Miller, Mike Stern, Tierney Sutton, Terrell Stafford and Will Lee. Other notable collaborations include work with Jon Secada, Joan Rivers, Connie Francis, Don Rickles, Melba Moore, Juan Gabriel, Clay Aiken, Bob Newhart and Nicol Williamson.
Currently, Marcinko tours and records with jazz saxophone icon Dave Liebman, as well as the Organik Vibe Trio featuring vibraphone and marimba master Dave Samuels.
Eric Bush joined the Penn State faculty in 2015 and serves as Assistant Director of Bands and Jazz Studies. He is actively involved with all operations of the Marching Blue Band and volleyball, basketball, and hockey pep bands. Also a member of the conducting, jazz, and graduate faculties, Bush works with concert bands, teaches undergraduate conducting, coaches jazz combos, and directs the Inner Dimensions jazz ensemble.
From 2012-15, Bush served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Band Conducting and published his thesis titled The History of the Big Ten Band Directors Association (1971-2015). His duties at Iowa included serving as guest conductor of the concert ensembles as well as being a staff member for the Hawkeye Marching Band and the Iowa Pep Band. He performed regularly as a trumpet player in the University of Iowa Symphony Band under the direction of Richard Mark Heidel, holding the position of principal trumpet from 2013-14. He also worked extensively with the Jazz Department at Iowa, where he played lead trumpet in Iowa’s premiere jazz big band, Johnson County Landmark, under the direction of John Rapson. He also served as director of the Jazz Repertory Ensemble. In spring 2015, Bush joined the faculty of Cornell College (Mt. Vernon, IA) as Visiting Director of Bands where he served as conductor of the wind ensemble and jazz ensemble.
Prior to his appointment at the University of Iowa, Bush served as director of bands and assistant professor at Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, NY (2008-12) where he conducted the symphonic band, jazz ensemble, and taught trumpet lessons. He also founded the S.C.C.C. Symphonic Wind Ensemble, an elite ensemble that performed for the inauguration ceremony of Suffolk’s sixth president, and which premiered the work Luminiferous Ether by faculty composer Alexander Nohai-Seaman.
Originally from Michigan, Bush earned his bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University where he studied trumpet with Dennis Horton. He holds a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the University of Montana where he served as graduate teaching assistant for bands. His primary teachers there were Steve Bolstad, Leon Slater, Kevin Griggs, and Lance Boyd. While residing in Montana, he also enjoyed a two-year appointment as third trumpet in the Missoula Symphony.
Bush is an active conductor in the music community, as he guest conducts, clinics, and adjudicates regularly. From 2010-13, he served the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) as Assistant Chair for Community Colleges as part of the Small College & Community College Committee. He is also a member of the Big Ten Band Directors Association (BTBDA) and serves as faculty advisor to the Penn State collegiate chapter of the National Band Association (NBA) and the national music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
Mark Lancaster Lusk became a member of the Penn State faculty in 1986. Prior to his appointment, he enjoyed a varied career with such diverse groups as the Woody Herman Thundering Herd, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, and the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players.
He continues to have an active playing career as a soloist, clinician, and freelance musician. As a member of the Woody Herman Alumni Band, he has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including featured performances at jazz festivals in China, England, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Scotland, and Sweden. The two most recent recordings of the Woody Herman Alumni Band are entitled the 60th Jubilee and Live in Londonand are available on the New York Jam label.
Lusk has also performed on Broadway, including the recent production of Little Women. The original cast album is currently available from Ghostlight Records. His successful experience on Broadway has allowed him to play such memorable shows as Les Miserables, Phantom Of The Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Victor/Victoria, Miss Saigon, and Beauty and the Beast.
His performing and teaching have also taken him to South America. He has toured Chile as an artist/clinician, teaching and performing throughout the country, including a performances with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Concepción and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile. Lusk has also visited Argentina where he served as an artist/clinician and was the first trombone soloist in the history of the Teatro Colon.
In the summer months, Lusk is a member of the faculty at the Cleveland Trombone Seminar, the Interlochen Trombone and Tuba Institute, and the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp as a Valade Fellow instructor. Each year, Lusk tours as a soloist and with various groups that take him to numerous universities and schools of music across the United States. He has often performed at the New York Brass Conference, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, and the International Trombone Workshop where he was invited to conduct the William Cramer Memorial Trombone Ensemble of College Professors.
Mark Lancaster Lusk is a native of Brandenburg, Kentucky. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Eastman School of Music and a performance certificate from Northwestern University. Lusk is an artist/clinician for S. E. Shires Trombones, and has published Trombonist’s Guide to the Unaccompanied Cello Suites of J. S. Bach (Lyceum Press).
Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, saxophonist David Stambler has established himself as a dynamic and active performer throughout the United States, performing both jazz and classical music. His concert activities include recitals and appearances as a symphonic soloist, as well as “on-call” engagements as saxophonist with many orchestras including the Annapolis Symphony, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, the National Gallery Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, and others. He has performed internationally including in Italy, Spain, Scotland, Austria, Slovenia, Russia, Japan, China, Canada, and Bermuda, and has appeared with dozens of orchestras across the United States as saxophonist, arranger, and manager of the renowned saxophone ensemble, the Capitol Quartet.
Stambler has distinguished himself as an advocate for new compositions for saxophone, premiering numerous works including Five Portraits by Jonathan Leshnoff, November by Elam Sprenkle with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Dos Movimientos by Guggennheim-winner Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez with the Bay Atlantic Symphony, Concerto for Saxophone by Copland Award-winning composer James Grant, Still the Fire by Guggenheim-winner John Anthony Lennon, Suite for Saxophone and Moments Musicale by Mark Lanz Weiser, and many others. He is the founder and president of the Margot Music Fund, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization that raises money for and sponsors scholarships, performances, and commissions.
Stambler has recorded with Capitol Quartet, Baltimore Symphony, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, numerous pop artists, and has played clarinet and saxophone on dozens of nationally broadcast radio and television commercials, soundtracks, and video games. A veteran of thousands of professional performances, he has appeared at the JVC Jazz festival, the Princeton Jazz Fest, the Smithsonian Institution, Strathmore Hall, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, numerous embassies in Washington, for heads of state, and has accompanied many top entertainers including Rosemary Clooney, Debbie Reynolds, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, Roberta Flack, Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Melissa Manchester, and many more.
David Stambler studied clarinet at the Oberlin Conservatory, and then received his Bachelor of Music degree in saxophone from the University of Michigan, where he was a student of Donald Sinta. He holds a master’s degree from the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland.
Mac Himes, instructor, holds a Bachelor of Art in Music from Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute, and has completed graduate studies at Berklee College of Music as well as a Masters of Music in Composition at Penn State. He performs regularly as a guitarist throughout the region, and teaches guitar at The Music Academy in State College.
Graduate Teaching Assistant Austin Oprean is in the second year of the M.M. in trombone performance at Penn State, where he studies with Mark Lusk. An active musician, he performs in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Trombone Choir. Austin has been the director of the Outer Dimensions Jazz Ensemble since Fall 2016.