Dr. John Russell is active as a professional tenor, conductor and educator. He is the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Palomar College and the Music Director of the San Diego Master Chorale. At Palomar College, he oversees the vocal music program, teaches courses in music theory and ear training, applied voice and music history, conducts the Chamber Singers and the Palomar Chorale. As the Music Director of the SDMC, Dr. Russell conducts and coordinates all of the organization’s artistic activities, which include preparing the chorus for performances with San Diego Symphony and other regional orchestras including the Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra and La Jolla Symphony. In addition, he serves on the summer conducting faculty at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey and at the San Diego Summer Choral Festival and Conducting Workshop.
Dr. Russell is also frequently in demand as a tenor soloist, noted for his “heart-melting legato”. His recent solo performances include Hector Berlioz’s Te Deum with the San Diego Symphony, Igor Stravinsky’s Persephone with the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with the Lisbon Summer Choral Festival Chorus and Orchestra in Lisbon, Portugal, and J.S. Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Bach Festival. He made his Walt Disney Concert Hall debut as the tenor soloist for Handel's Messiah with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the direction of Grant Gershon.
Dr. Russell was previously the Director of Choral Activities at California State University, San Bernardino, and has held similar positions at Albion College (Michigan), Los Angeles City College, Cypress College and the San Diego Children’s Choir. Prior to his work in California, Dr. Russell was the principal choral conductor at the LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the Fame School) in New York City. At LaGuardia he was the assistant chairperson of the Music Department, conductor of the symphonic chorus and voice instructor for the school’s advanced vocalists. While in New York he conducted in over twenty performances with the world-renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, served as a clinician for the New York Philharmonic’s Education Department, and was a guest conductor with New York City National Chorale.
Dr. Russell is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan and is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Columbia University. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Music from the University of Southern California. His primary conducting mentors are Craig Arnold, Joe Miller and Jo-Michael Scheibe and he has studied voice with William Appel, Curt Peterson, Jeanne Goffi-Fynn and Gary Glaze. He currently resides in San Diego with his wife, Jill and son, Parker.