School of Music

Robert Russell, biography continued

Robert Russell, biography continued

Dr. Russell regularly collaborates with many regional artistic groups including Portland Ballet Company (Menotti's The Unicorn, the Gorgon, and the Manticore in 2006, Carmina Burana in 2004 and 2007, and Mozart’s Requiem in 2010), Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, Musica de Filia Girlchoir, Southern Maine Children’s Chorus, Bowdoin Chamber Chorus, USM Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra, and musicians from the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He has been an advocate for new choral music and instituted The Choral Art Society’s commission of works by local composers George Andoniadis, Jerry Bowder, Scott Harris, Charles Kaufmann, Travis Ramsey, and J. Mark Scearce as well as the noted North Carolina composer Dan Locklair.

The Choral Art Society has released three CDs: Windswept the Trees: The Choral Music of Dan Locklair (1996), and Christmas at the Cathedral (1999 and 2004). In 2002 CAS toured Europe, singing in Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg.

The USM Chamber Singers have released five CDs — Wrapped in Song: A Christmas Portrait (1998), Bright Journeys (2001), In Endless Song (2004), Behold the Stars (2007), and Volare (2010) — in conjunction with five European tours. The first tour in 1999 to Vienna, Venice, and Paris featured performances in Notre Dame de Paris and the Karlskirche in Vienna. In 2002 the Chamber Singers toured Ireland, Wales, and England, and in 2005 they sang in Austria, France, and Italy, performing a noon mass at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice and singing on the concert series of the Cavaillon Cathedral. They sang in the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Poland in May 2008, and the audience at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava requested seven encores. The most recent tour in May 2011 was to the Andalusian region of southern Spain. Dr. Russell made his international orchestral debut in June 2010, conducting Mozart’s Requiem and Sinfonia Concertante in the Slovak National Radio Concert Hall in Bratislava.

Dr. Russell celebrated 25 years of making music in Portland with a gala performance of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, performed with a chorus of 250 high school and adult singers accompanied by the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra with Steven Pane as pianist. For many summers he has conducted the Lincoln Festival Chorus in Boothbay Harbor, ME, leading a performance in 2005 of Mendelssohn’s Elijah to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lincoln Arts Festival.

Bob lives in Portland with his wife Linda, a piano teacher and author of numerous program notes for his choral performances. When not conducting or teaching, he enjoys exploring Acadia National Park with Linda, as well as traveling, golf, yoga, skiing, and gardening.

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