Born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus George Lernis is a drummer and world percussionist. At the age of 13 George started attending drum private lessons. In addition from a very young age he became interested in hand percussion. He currently specializes in a number of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean instruments such as: the Bendir (Frame drum), Daf, Daire, Darbuka, Riq, Davul and the Kudums. In addition George plays: the Pandeiro, Congas, Bongos, Cajon, Tablas, Hadjira, Kanjira, Timpani, Glockenspiel and Marimba.
By the age of 15 George was playing music with several bands in the styles of Jazz, Rock and Greek music. In 1998 George joined the Cypriot Army Force where he eventually became a member of the military band serving as the lead drummer of the Jazz and Greek band of SMEF as well as the lead marching snare drummer.
On 2001 he came to the United States to study music at the prestige Berklee College of Music. Throughout his studies George attended private lessons with musicians like John Hazilla, John Ramsay, Kenwood Dennard, Dave DiCenso, Mark Walker, Dave Samuels, Gary Barton and Gary Chaffee. He graduated on April 2005 with a Bachelor degree in Jazz Performance.
In 2008 George was accepted at the Longy School of Music from where he received a master’s degree in Modern American Music. During his graduate studies he attended private lessons with drummer Bob Gullotti. After graduating from Longy School of Music, George attended private lessons with percussionist Jerry Leake for several years.
George has performed in venues such as: Carnegie Hall (NY), Metropolitan Museum (NY), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Berklee Performance Center, New England Conservatory, Shalin Liu (Rockport, MA), Regatta Bar, Scullers Jazz Club, Ryles Jazz Club, Blackman Theater, MIT Kresge Little Theater, Zero Arrow Theater, Tsai Performance Center, (Le) Poisson Rouge (NY), Joe's pub (NY) and many more. In addition George performs and tours regularly around the United States and Europe for festivals and concerts.
Over the last few years George has recorded and collaborated with prominent figures such as: Mehmet Ali Salnikol, Dave Liebman, Anat Cohen, Antonio Sanchez, Tiger Okoshi, Jerry Leake, Bertram Lehmann and Robert Labaree to name a few.
After his master’s degree George released his first album as a bandleader, “Shapes of Nature” featuring the George Lernis Jazz Quartet. In addition George Lernis is the percussionist of the:
- Mehmet Ali Sanlikol's @ Whatsnext? big band.
- Dünya ensemble performing classical Ottoman and Phanariot music.
- Othello in the Seraglio a coffeehouse opera based on the tragedy of Othello by William Shakespeare
- The Greek Music ensemble performing Greek traditional, Entehno, Laiko and Rembetiko music.
- Orfeas band performing Greek music for festivals and other events.
- Muscari ensemble performing Asian Minor music.
- Pharos Ensemble performing Asian Minor music.
- Esthema, a fusion group from Boston, MA that performs World Music in a Jazz improvising setting.
- Mina Cho’s Jazz trio, quartet and quintet.
- Somervilles Community Baptist Church as the lead drummer during their Gospel services.