The American conductor and music pedagogue, Brian T. Russell, obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro (Choral & Instrumental Music Education Major, May 2000); his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting (May 2004) and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting (October 2009) from the Eastman School of Music (ESM) in Rochester, New York. At Eastman, he led multiple choral and orchestral ensembles in performance, including works by J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann, L.v. Beethoven's Mass in C, numerous world premieres of student compositions, and a Kilbourn Hall performance of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat featuring Dean and Director James Undercofler. He had an extraordinary host of teachers, including Raphael Bundage, Mark Scatterday, Neil Varon, and William Weinert. In 2009, Russell was the recipient of the coveted Walter Hagen Conducting Prize, awarded to an outstanding ESM graduate student in conducting.
Brian T. Russell was a high school music teacher in Tennessee, where his instrumental and vocal ensembles at Riverdale High School (2000-2002) and White House High School (2004-2007) repeatedly gained recognition at state and regional festivals. Later he served on the choral faculty at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York (2007-2009).
Since 2009, Brian T. Russell is Assistant Professor of Music at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illimois, where his responsibilities include directing the University Choir, teaching Conducting and courses in Music Education, supervising student teachers, and teaching a seminar on "Music and Western Society." Under his direction, the Illinois Wesleyan University Choir has received critical acclaim for recent concerts featuring the works of Rossini, Josef Rheinberger, G.P. Telemann, Felix Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, and American composers.
Brian T. Russell is also is conductor for Cantus Novus (since 2010), an auditioned, semi-professional vocal ensemble based in Bloomington, and is music director of First Federated Church in Peoria, Illinois (since 2010), where the recent Good Friday performance of J.S. Bach's St. John Passion (BWV 245) was met with much community support and acclamation. Russell's research interests surround the choral music of G.P. Telemann; his 2009 dissertation on the Psalms of G.P. Telemann recently won the Julius Herford Prize from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Brian T. Russell's professional affiliations include Chorus America, National Association for Music Education, the College Music Society, and the American Choral Directors Association, where he served as the Tennessee High School Repertoire and Standards chair from 2005 to 2007. He is also an active clinician, guest conductor, and adjudicator.