School of Music

Saturday, April 20, Robert Russell Conducts the University Chorale

USM ChoraleThe USM Chorale will perform Donald McCullough’s Holocaust Cantata:Songs from the Camps and John Rutter's Requiem on Saturday, April 20 at 5 p.m. under the direction of Robert Russell in Corthell Concert Hall on the USM Gorham Campus.

Tickets are $6 for the general public, and $3 for students, seniors, USM employees and alumni. Call the USM School of Music Box Office for reservations, (207) 780-5555, or make reservations online at

Maestro McCullough, composer and music director of the Master Chorale of Washington DC, conceived the Holocaust Cantata following a rigorous search of the archives of the Holocaust Museum. His first task was to immerse himself in the collection, playing through hundreds of tunes. He was encouraged to find that they contained some compelling melodies, and for the first time he began to imagine a choral cantata – perhaps reflecting the role of music in the camps or evoking the daily lives of these people – that might rise from the material. What finally emerged is a 40-minute work that gives a human voice to victims of the Holocaust through a cycle of songs and spoken prose written by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.  After intermission the Chorale performs Rutter's sublime and lyrical Requiem, a work of deep beauty and rich insight, that sets the traditional liturgical text with English texts interspersed.


 About Robert Russell, conductor:

Robert Russell is a professor of music at the University of Southern Maine and music director of Portland’s Choral Art Society. A native of Roanoke, Virginia, he grew up in the Baptist tradition of choral expression as an integral part of religious life. He studied music and religion at Wake Forest University (BA) and choral music with Lara Hoggard at the University of North Carolina (MM). He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in the literature and performance of choral music at the University of Colorado where he studied conducting with Lynn Whitten and voice with Barbara Doscher. He continued his studies with Robert Shaw, Alice Parker, Helmuth Rilling, and Elmer Iseler. He is deeply indebted to inspiring teachers who have fostered his musical growth and development.

Dr. Russell often travels throughout New England to work with music teachers and their students as leader of choral workshops and clinics. Since 1979 Dr. Russell has been music director of The Choral Art Society’s three ensembles: Singers, Camerata, and the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, which performs annually with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He 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.

Members of the press, and those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646