A Texas native transplanted to Colorado, Russ actively performs and teaches in the Denver metro area. Since earning his Master’s Degree in 2015, Russ has performed extensively in the U.S. and internationally, including a residency in France with his guitar & cello duo Solazur, a tour of Scotland with guitar duo Derelict Hands, and at the Bali Arts Festival (PKB) in 2019 as a member of Gamelan Tunas Mekar.
Russ is an active soloist and chamber musician. He was recently invited by Sand Diego New Music to perform as a guest artist in the 2022 soundON Festival, premiering new works by Lukas Schulze & Will Brobston. His duo Solazur with cellist Katie Burns, explores a range of contemporary chamber music in intimate performance settings. Their debut album, Mercurial, was released in the fall of 2021 and features new works for guitar & cello, several commissioned for the duo. In 2018 the duo traveled to the Cote d’Azur, France to participate as ensemble-in-residence at the Zodiac Chamber music Festival. July 2016 found Russ in Glasgow, Scotland, with friend and colleague Calum Borthwick where they, Derelict Hands, recorded their debut album after a tour. He has also performed in concert with soprano Kathryn Radakovich, as well as several musicals and orchestra engagements. Russ is an active member of Gamelan Tunas Mekar, the Denver-based community ensemble performing new and traditional music for Balinese Gamelan by special invitation, internationally and nationally.
As a dynamic instructor, Russ actively expands his teaching studio and teaches guitarists of all ages and skill levels, ranging from classical to pop music. In 2020 Russ joined Lead Guitar, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that partners with neighborhood schools to provide free guitar ensemble instruction nationwide. His private studio is currently accepting students of all skill levels.
Russ attended the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he earned his Master’s degree under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed performers and pedagogues, Ricardo Iznaola and Jonathan Leathwood. His final recital at DU was recognized as one of the university’s Outstanding Recitals in May 2015, and shortly after Derelict Hands took top prize in the ensemble division of the Southern Guitar Festival.
In 2010 Russ was accepted on scholarship into the Meadows School of the Arts’ music division at Southern Methodist University where he earned his Bachelor’s degree with Robert Guthrie. In 2011, he took two first prizes at the Brownsville Guitar Festival and Competition with his duo and the Meadows Quartet.
His formal training began at Collin College where he studied under Sabine Madriguera. There he participated in her award-winning One O’Clock Ensemble and earned two first prizes at the Brownsville Guitar Festival and Competition (2007 and 2010). While at Collin College, he was also awarded first prize in the advanced division of Collin College’s Annual Guitar Competition.
Russ performs on a 2014 Woodring Guitar commissioned from luthier Aaron Ringo.