Charlie Gilmer has been playing piano by ear since the age of 3, taking up lessons at age 9. It was at 15 when he answered God’s calling to a life of music with his first church job. When playing for his choir at Smithfield High School, the director immediately observed in Charlie signs of perfect pitch (even though the ability was pretty apparent at a much earlier age) due to his uncanny knack for keeping the choir in tune while a capella, even without the use of a piano or keyboard. Charlie credits his choir director for inspiring him to audition for Shenandoah University Conservatory, that of which he passed during his senior year and accepted on the spot as a classical Piano Performance major…also studying the organ as his minor instrument. Charlie’s degree studies included instruction in written/aural music theory, music history, conducting and pedagogy methods (teacher training) as well as the required weekly piano tutelage which had served as preparation for numerous solo and chamber recital performances. He completed his Bachelor of Music in Performance (BM) degree in 2002 and a Master’s in 2006 taking additional courses in church music. During his tenure at SU, Charlie’s private teachers included Dr. Karen Walker, Miss Elizabeth Temple and Dr. Steven Cooksey (organ and conducting). He had performed in master classes under legendary artists Gabriel Chodos, Yu-Ling Huang Davie, and Seymour Bernstein. The most recent noteworthy performance of 2014 has been an incredible debut at venerable Carnegie Hall on June 25th (Weill Recital Hall); collaborating with vioinist and mezzo soprano Tona Brown.
Charlie’s performance career can be thought of as widespread due to the musical diversity of the repertoire, which ranges from classical to jazz, pop, blues, funk, R&B, classic rock and even hip hop. His experience includes playing piano, organ and keyboards at weddings, parties, corporate events and much more….solo, chamber groups, community choirs and bands. Charlie has played with such groups as the Blue Ridge Chorale, the Robbie Limon Band, Steel Breeze, Christina Lamoree, Danny and the Juniors, Stuck on Blue and 1000 Bucks. Venues played over the years include I.J.Canns, Piccadilly’s Public House, Chopstick Cafe, Village Square Restaurant and Lounge, Espresso Bar and Cafe and La Nicoise Cafe (French and Mediterranean cuisine).
Charlie is also an avid songwriter and composer (though he considers this mostly a hobby); he has written everything from pieces for solo piano, piano and flute and other instrumental combinations to even rap songs which he has both written AND performed live. He has two beautiful children—Anastasia Payge Marie (girl) and Amadeus Zhane Ravel (boy)…most importantly Charlie is a committed follower of Jesus Christ; whom he claims is the sole reason for overcoming every obstacle towards his successes today.