Gerry Pagano

After five decades as a professional musician, Gerry is now retired from an active performing life. Looking back, it was a winding road that led from him finding his dad’s trombone in a closet, to playing on stage at Carnegie Hall.

He was slow to become serious about music, and his first real interest came in ninth grade, and getting into All State band. Most of the early years revolved around school band, until he met Charles Vernon at the Brevard Music Camp. This was a real inspiration, and the beginning of his experience with orchestral music.

Later, as a music Education Major at The University of Georgia,  he got his first Bass Trombone.  He also started having the chance to play jazz in clubs in the Athens area, and eventually, this led to the opportunity to join a touring band out of Atlanta. He spent the next year and a half traveling to places such as Saudi Arabia, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Reno, and Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

The next opportunity came in Phoenix, Arizona, as a free lance musician. Gerry played such shows as A Chorus Line, Annie, Bob Hope, Liberace, and started taking orchestra auditions. His first success came with the Tucson Symphony on bass trombone, around 1983-84.

Gerry soon realized the need for more intensive orchestral study. This led to his move to New York, and Juilliard, in 1984. Three years there gave Gerry some wonderful experiences, in and out of school. He played with the Metropolitan opera, along with a fair amount of other work in the New York area. In 1987, he went with the Juilliard Orchestra on its tour of Asia, and later that year, won a position with the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.

He spent eight years in the Bay area, where even more opportunities came his way. In 1990, Gerry performed Wagners’ Ring Cycle with the San Francisco Opera, and in 1988, recorded the Alpine Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony.

In 1995 he won the position of Bass Trombone in St. Louis, where he stayed for 27 years, until retiring in August, 2022.

His musical life has included playing everything from Salsa, Chinese Funerals, Opera, Ballet, Brass Quintet, Broadway, Dixieland, marching band, and others he can no longer recall. He has been to music festivals at TanglewoodBear ValleyCarmel BachTeton FestivalGreat WoodsWaterloo, and Interlochen. 

He has taught around the country, in Master Classes from Missouri, to Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Kansas, and Wisconsin, to name a few. His career has included travel to most of the fifty states, places such as Great Britain, France, Germany, in Europe, as well as Japan and China. 

Gerry has enjoyed his work outside the orchestra as well, helping form the STL Trombones, a Chamber Ensemble, dedicated to bringing the appreciation and enjoyment of the trombone to a wider audience.

Through Gerry’s life in music, he’s made many friends around the country, and continues to explore the wonderful world of trombone. He is grateful to all those along the way that taught, performed alongside, inspired, and put up with him, these many years.

Gerry’s adventure at the Salon

Gerry and Doug Yeo performing The Crimson Collop

Gerry's 2022 Retirement concert

Enjoy the multimedia performances that Gerry organized for an amazing night of trombones and strings. 

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Scroll to Top