Ninth Annual David Russell Bach Prize Finalists Recital
February 16, Thursday, 12:00 p.m., Holsclaw Hall, $Free
David Russell Bach Prize Semifinals
Sunday, February 12, 3:00 p.m., Holsclaw Hall, $FREE
One of Tucson’s great treasures is the musical residency of the extraordinary David Russell at the University of Arizona. The Grammy Award-winning artist comes every year to teach and to perform, thanks to the legacy of Sandy Bolton. Russell also judges the David Russell Bach Prize Recital, which presents four top guitar students playing works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Grammy Award-winning guitarist David Russell is the sole judge of the four finalists. In May 2014 Maestro Russell was bestowed the Honorary Doctoral Degree from the University of Arizona. About this competition, Russell wrote, “The wonderful music of J.S. Bach is satisfying on all levels: emotionally, intellectually, technically and historically. It has given me so much pleasure and happiness all through my life, that I want to encourage all the students to dedicate some valuable time of their important formative years at the university to studying his music. The competition will be a very good incentive for them to include some of Bach’s works in their repertoire that I hope will give them the same pleasure for their entire lives.”
Past winners of this competition are:
2015 Misael Barraza
2016 Bin Hu
2017 Nicholas Epple
2018 Misael Barraza
2019 Andrés Pantoja
2020 Misael Barraza
2021 Andrea Roberto
David Russell is the most sought-after classical guitar soloist and teacher of today, widely renowned for his superb musicianship and inspired artistry. David Russell’s connection with the University of Arizona started in 1981, playing concerts and giving master classes. These occasional visits eventually became yearly events, providing continuity in his work with students in the guitar program. The quality of his teaching and his outstanding performances drew the attention of Dr. Sandy Bolton, an aficionado of the instrument. The first major gift of the Boltons was to sponsor David’s residencies, and Sandy and Phyllis Bolton went on to make major gifts to the guitar studies program. David continues to be artist in residence at the University of Arizona, visiting every spring. His regular participation in master classes draws some of the best students in guitar from around the world to the Bolton Guitar Studies Program.
David Russell tours widely, appearing regularly at prestigious halls in the world’s major cities, from Wigmore Hall, London, to the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, and all major cities between. He also plays with symphony orchestras all over the world, having been under the baton of reputed conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, performing for large crowds, as he did recently in Chicago with Alondra de la Parra at the Millennium Park. David is currently touring with an innovative project of Golden Globe Award film composer Michael Nyman, with whom he has worked in close collaboration.
David has recorded CDs of music from every period, with an extraordinary total of twenty-seven recordings. Since 1995, he has had an exclusive contract with Telarc International, with whom he has made seventeen CDs. A solo recoding every year is an extraordinary accomplishment, and, in addition, his 2005 CD “Aire Latino” won the Grammy Award in the category of best instrumental soloist in classical music.
A large number of prominent composers have dedicated works to him that have become standards in the guitar repertoire. Conversely, David’s publications of his own transcriptions are widely used by guitar players everywhere.
In addition to his musical work, David dedicates much of his time to charitable works. He and his wife, María Jesús, created an NGO (Non Governmental Organization) registered in Spain, called “ONGD David Russell y María Jesús.” Through it, they have financed projects of cooperation for the development of water extraction, construction of wells, management of hydraulic infrastructures, groundwork for the hydrological resources and development of the conditions of drinking water, as well as promoting the access to drinking water in African countries. They have built more than 70 wells to date. The second major goal of this organization, is to help with projects of education in India. They have financed the building of four schools in Andra Pradesh, in the area of Anantapur. And the project closest to their hearts is the maintenance of a school in India for 90 disabled children, both physically and mentally handicapped. Although David spends most of the year on tour playing concerts and teaching, the humanitarian work represents a very important part of his life.
For more information visit www.davidrussellguitar.com