Timothy Russell

Timothy Russell is one of America’s most dynamic arts leaders, versatile orchestra conductors, and finest conducting teachers. Dr. Russell is Director of Orchestras and Professor of Music at Arizona State University. He also directs ASU’s doctoral orchestral conducting program, the many graduates of which are successfully engaged in a variety of professional and university conducting positions.

An articulate spokesperson for the arts, his obvious joy in discussing music, nurturing young conductors, and building new audiences may only be surpassed by the insight and energy which his concerts and artistic partnerships possess . . . entertaining and enlightening programs and presentations powerfully presented for music lovers of all ages. The Columbus Dispatch has written, “Timothy Russell brings an intellectual curiosity to everything that he does. . . versatility and virtuosity . . . Russell’s infectious enthusiasm, knack for innovation, and artistic sensibility have inspired support vital to the continued success of any artistic enterprise.  Bravo!”

As an orchestra conductor his repertoire is over 1000 works, including more than 100 world premieres.  He is equally at home leading the great symphonic literature, music for chamber orchestra, ballet, large choral works, pops concerts, and children’s programs.  He has collaborated in performances and recordings with such diverse artists as the Guarneri String Quartet, Borromeo String Quartet, Manhattan Transfer, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, World Saxophone Quartet, Native American cedar flutist R. Carlos Nakai, fiddler Mark O’Connor, The Regina Carter Quintet, Paquito D’Rivera, jazz singer Jane Monheit, the legendary pop/folk singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith and her Blue Moon Orchestra, the Milton Ruffin Gospel Chorale, flutist Sir James Galway, pianists Jeremy Denk, Richard Goode, Gabriella Montero and Andre Watts, singers Benita Valente, Roberta Peters, and Hermann Prey, Ballet Arizona and the Miami City Ballet, as well as composers such as Michael Daugherty, Philip Glass, Aaron Jay Kernis, Peter Schickele, Joan Tower, and Frank Zappa.


Maestro Russell was named the Conductor Laureate of the award-winning ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Ohio, upon conclusion of his 35-year tenure as the co-founder and music director of the ensemble. This is his twelfth season conducting Ballet Arizona’s collaborations with The Phoenix Symphony, including the annual production of The Nutcracker. He has directed the Company’s full-length productions of Cinderella, CoppeliaDon Quixote, GiselleA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping BeautySwan Lake, the premiere of Ib Andersen’s Play, and six Balanchine Tributes. The June 2010 performances were reviewed by Alastair Macaulay, the Senior Dance Critic for the New York Times, who applauded “the performance by the Phoenix Symphony led by guest conductor Timothy Russell (taut, brisk tempos and handsome playing).” The next week Maestro Russell accompanied Ballet Arizona at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for three performances as part of the series “Ballet Across America.” This year he will lead a new production of La Bayadere with Ballet Arizona.


His guest conducting appearances have included the Orquestra Sinfonica Escola Superior de Artes in Portugal, the Cleveland Institute Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, American Classical Orchestra, Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, Spokane Symphony, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Quad City Symphony, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, Summit Brass, Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, and symphony orchestras in Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, and Texas.


As a conductor/record producer of thirty CD’s, Russell has received two Grammy nominations.  Dr. Russell also continues to be a featured author as well as a speaker at music conferences and workshops.  He has conducted All-State Orchestras in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas.  He has also been involved in research concerning “Leadership Styles of Orchestral Conductors.” He is currently writing three books – Joyful Musicians: Reflection, Intention, Community, and a Mindful Approach to Peak PerformanceMindful Conducting: A Practical Anthology; and Mindful Tennis, with Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer. With Professor Langer, Dr. Russell has published a research article in the internationally juried journal Psychology of Music entitled “Orchestral Performance and the Footprint of Mindfulness.”

Russell served for nine seasons (1984-1993) as the Music Director and Conductor of The Naples Philharmonic.  For the last four years of his tenure, he was the resident conductor in Naples, Florida in addition to serving as Director of Music Education for the city’s spectacular new Philharmonic Center for the Arts.  Under his leadership that organization experienced dramatic growth in the size of its audience and number of programs, including educational and chamber music offerings.   The Naples Philharmonic became a regional orchestra with a full-time resident core ensemble of forty musicians and gained recognition as one of the finest performing ensembles in the Southeastern United States.  With the opening of the new Philharmonic Center, the orchestra’s season expanded to include three Classical subscription series, three Pops series, the Sinfonia Chamber Orchestra series, a “Magic Carpet” series for children ages three to six, a school series, a New Year’s Eve Gala, the Candlelight chamber series, an annual collaborative series with Edward Villella’s Miami City Ballet, and a series of run-out performances.

Maestro Russell was presented the 2006 Ohioana Pegasus Award, given for his “unique and outstanding accomplishments in the arts and humanities.” Past winners have included folk artist Elijah Pierce, Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, conductor Erich Kunzel, and entertainers Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, and Roy Rogers.