(sonic artist and music therapist)
Studied composition with Antony Ritchie at the University of Otago and classical guitar with Sue Court. Collaborations with theatre director John Hudson at this time included Te Aomarama, Glimpse and The Rocky Quarry Show. His own theatre work the song cycle Poems to Eat based on the Tanka poems of Ishikawa Takuboku toured New Zealand theatres in 1990 with the percussion duo Smith Vs Smith. Early dance collaborations began at this time with Carol Brown, Bronwyn Judge and Shona Dunlop MacTavish. Russell began holding music workshops at Cherry Farm Psychiatric Hospital in 1988 and was then employed to help establish Artsenta, an arts workshop in Dunedin for people with psychiatric disabilities following the closure of the hospital. After receiving a Creative NZ study grant in 1992 Russell travelled to London to complete a diploma in Arts Administration and continued to work with music and disability. In 1996 he co-founded Carol Brown Dances and collaborated with Carol on many dance pieces including Ocean Skin, Flesh Txt, Like A House On Fire and the BBC2 dance film The Lift, as well as the installation works Shelf Life and Nerve. In 2006 he composed the score for Aarero Stone, a commissioned work for the Wellington International Festival of the Arts. Many of these performances have toured internationally throughout Europe, Scandinavia, USA, South America and New Zealand. Until June 2007 Russell was also artistic director of Planet People, a collection of musicians and composers with learning disabilities based in Surrey. Planet People’s extraordinary dance film Our Moving World was screened at the 7th London Disability Film Festival at London’s National Film Theatre. In 2007 Planet People completed the music composition for GLOW, a dance performance to celebrate the opening of The Lightbox Art Gallery in Woking, Surrey. In 2008 he completed Post Graduate studies to qualify as a UK State Registered Music Therapist and has since been employed by Orchard Hill College in Sutton. Following a recent move to Auckland, New Zealand he now works with the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre. He also plays music for children & babies regularly in Auckland and occasionally teaches guitar privately.