First season with the DSO: 2007-2008
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Education: Doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa; Master’s from University of Iowa in Piano Performance: Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Bradley University in Peoria, IL
I knew I would make a career in music when: In sixth grade, I got to accompany my grade school’s choir. The piece was called, “Don’t Let the Music Stop.” As young pianists, we don’t always get to play in ensembles like students who play band or orchestral instruments. It was so much fun to have the musical interaction with others and to get to perform in front of a large audience. At that point, I knew I always wanted to be involved with music.
Favorite recording: Arthur Rubinstein playing Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2
Advice for young musicians: Keep practicing and stick with your instrument even when there are many other things to do. For pianists: It is sometimes hard because as a young pianist you spend a lot of time having to practice by yourself, without the “social” aspect of being in an ensemble. But as you get older, the music will get more fun to play, and you may have the opportunity to play in an ensemble someday, such as the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
One thing people don’t know about me: I am Certified Flight Instructor in airplanes and a private helicopter pilot.
Joshua Russell has performed as a pianist, organist, and conductor throughout the United States, Europe, and Haiti. Widely regarded as an expert on the piano music of Haiti, Dr. Russell recently performed an encore recital of Haitian piano music at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C., after which Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph stated:
“As an interpreter of Haitian music, you could not find a better person. He was an inspiration to everyone who heard him. He is an inspiration to me.”
Deeply committed to improving the lives of Haitians through music-related activities, Dr. Russell has recorded a CD of Haitian piano music, with the proceeds going toward the rebuilding of Haiti’s primary music school that was completely destroyed in the earthquake. He recently reconstructed and edited a long lost piano concerto by one of Haiti’s greatest composers and recently performed the revival of this work with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra.
Dr. Russell has appeared as an orchestral soloist, in addition to performing recitals at nationally visible venues such as the Liszt-Garrison International Piano Competition in Baltimore, American Liszt Society National Festival, the San Genarro Festival of Los Angeles, the Lasker (North Carolina) Summer Music Festival and was recently invited to perform at the World Piano Conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.
In demand throughout the United States for his entertaining and educational workshops for music students and teachers, Dr. Russell has been a speaker at national conferences of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the College Music Society (CMS).
Joshua is an Instructional Assistant Professor of Piano at Illinois State University. He has served on the piano faculty for the École Sainte Trinite Summer Music Camp for Haitian Youth in Leogane, Haiti where he also conducted the Petits Chanteurs Haitian boys choir.