Buffalo Phil’s new principal pops conductor, John Morris Russell, aims for local flavor

Posted on: April 20, 2015

In the Buffalo News on Sunday (4/19), Mary Kunz Goldman writes that John Morris Russell, announced by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on April 18 as its principal pops conductor designate, “made quite an impression at Friday and Saturday’s Pops concerts. And Russell wasn’t even conducting. He wasn’t even here. He greeted the audience via video. As he discussed the upcoming season—’We’re bringing in Pink Martini. Exotic! Sexy!’—everyone was smiling.” Russell “plans on tailoring concerts to our town,” Goldman writes, noting that in his current role as conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Russell “has designed programs playing up aspects of that city’s history…. ‘Being that I was born and raised in Cleveland, the whole ethos of the Great Lakes is something that’s dear to me. And something that I am particularly excited about is that Buffalo has a great jazz tradition. It seems to be in the soil. To be able to play that up and explore that and take advantage of the great jazz musicians who are there in town, it’s really exciting for me.’ ” Russell’s wife, a historic preservationist, “is checking out Buffalo’s buildings. He, too, envisions exploring the Queen City in depth—and incorporating what he finds into his concerts.”

Posted April 20, 2015