HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- John Morris Russell, one of North America's most celebrated orchestral conductors, has agreed to take up the baton as "Principal Guest Conductor" for the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra (HHSO, http://www.hhso.org/) for the 2011-2012 season, underway in October.
"We're thrilled for this opportunity to have a major international talent like Maestro Russell come to our community," said Edward Parrish, orchestra board chairman. "When we learned of his interest in leading our symphony we realized it would mark a major step forward for the presentation of great music in our region."
Russell has won international praise for his extraordinary music making and visionary leadership while overseeing a variety of outreach music programs for the communities where he has performed. In fact, he has been cited as one of North America's leaders in educational programming, directing the educational series "LinkUP!" at New York's Carnegie Hall for 12 years, a continuation of one made famous by Leonard Bernstein.
For the past 10 years, Russell has served as Music Director of the Windsor (Ontario, Canada) Symphony Orchestra, where he is credited for "having fostered a decade of unprecedented artistic growth" in that region. During his tenure, the Windsor Symphony Orchestra made 17 national broadcasts on Canadian Broadcasting Radio.
Most recently, Russell was named Conductor Designate of the renowned Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and begins his tenure there as Conductor in September. In addition to a previous position in Cincinnati as Associate Conductor for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (11 years), Russell also served as Associate Conductor for the Savannah Symphony, near Hilton Head, where he met his wife, Thea.
As a guest conductor, Russell has led many of North America's most distinguished ensembles, including the orchestras of Toronto, Houston, Detroit, Indianapolis, Dallas and Minnesota. He has also conducted for the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, Miami's New World Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl.
"I am excited to be returning to the Hilton Head Island/ Savannah area. It is one of the most naturally beautiful and inspiring regions in the world," said Russell. "I know many of the exceptional musicians in the area and I am looking forward to building upon the world class traditions of the International Piano Competition and creating symphonic concerts of extraordinary quality."
Mary Briggs, Executive Director for HHSO, said Russell has agreed to conduct four concerts during the upcoming season as well as the March 2012 International Piano Competition and the April 2012 "Symphony Under the Stars" -- a total of six concerts the first year.
Charlie Clark, vice president of communications for the Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau, praised the appointment, noting that: "Arts and cultural travel is a growing segment of the tourism industry. Top-notch arts and cultural offerings, like that of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, are an integral part of our world-class destination."
Contact: Tom Gardo, 843-785-3989 or TomG@DenariusGroup.com
SOURCE Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra