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B.A. in music, honors in composition, 1977, University of North Carolina Wilmington. Russell relocated to Atlanta, GA and became active in the Atlanta music industry as a string multi-instrumentalist, recording jingles, TV music, soundtracks for commercial video, and a major movie score (Consenting Adults). Russell also composed music for television and commercial video; his soundtrack music for Hard Road to Glory, a BET documentary based on the book by Arthur Ashe, won a Freedoms Foundation award in 1985.
Russell returned to Wilmington in 1994 and joined the faculty of the Department of Music in 1995. Over the last thirty years, he has played guitar, mandolin, electric bass and banjo in a wide variety of genres and venues with/for Henry Mancini, George Crumb, Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Pops Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Wilmington, Cape Fear Jazz Orchestra, Slide Hampton, David Baker, Kenny Davern, the Paul Winter Consort, Steve Bailey, and Marcus Roberts, among others. He continues a busy schedule as a performer, composer, clinician and recording artist in addition to his teaching duties.