Alexander Erpilev, Russian Big Band Leader, 56

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Alexander Erpilev, 57, April 25th, in Aschersleben Germany. He was an orchestra conductor in his native Russia before moving to Germany in 2000 and turning his career over to the jazz music he loved. As a new teacher at the Kreismusikschule he began recruiting other faculty for the formation of a big band.  He also secured funding from local institutions for concerts, rehearsal weekends, and leisure activities.

The Ascherslebener Big Band, named for the town, was founded in 2006 and became a beloved public institution . Two years ago their tenth anniversary was marked with a concert and articles in the local paper which said “The young instrumentalists do not have to do much advertising for their music anymore…”.

The band is mostly made up of performance oriented students from the music school, but professional musicians also join them. They hold well attended concerts throughout the year that unite the community. The band has twice performed at the opening of the legislative session at the regional capital. As a band leader he inspired his students to strive for excellence.  Though he could come across as a severe disciplinarian his students could laugh with him as well. His legacy is the love of jazz spread to both the Kreismusikschule and the town of Aschersleben.

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