Trombonist Matthew Russo has a diverse career as an educator, soloist, and advocate of new music. He was recently appointed Instructor of Trombone at the University of Connecticut.
In addition to his studio at the University of Connecticut, Russo teaches at The Hartt School Community Division. Also at Hartt, he teaches courses in entrepreneurship and is director of the Hartt Trombone Ensemble. His trombone ensemble at Hartt has performed throughout the Greater Hartford area has raised thousands for local charities in their annual holiday benefit concerts under his direction. Prior to his appointments at UConn and Hartt, Russo was a teaching artist in New Haven and was on faculty for several summers at the Morse Summer Music Academy at The Yale School of Music.
Russo is Principal Trombone with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra and has appeared with the Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Wallingford, and Greater Bridgeport Symphony orchestras. He regularly appears at the Goodspeed, Ivoryton, Monomoy, and Hartford Stage theatre companies.
A passionate advocate of new music, he has premiered dozens of new works, many of which were written explicitly for him or his ensembles. His most recent world premiere of Robert Carl’s Updraft in March 2015 involved nine pre-recorded alto, tenor, and bass trombones. In 2011 Russo founded the Contemporary Trombone Repertory Project, an endeavor to commission the world’s greatest composers to write new works for the trombone. In 2012, a Kickstarter was successfully funded with the funds used to commission Stephen Feigenbaum. Feigenbaum’s work for Trombone and Piano, Feedback Loop Death, was premiered in 2013.
He is two-time winner of the Paranov Concerto Competition and was a finalist in the 2012 International Trombone Association Alto Trombone Competition. Russo has been a member of many successful chamber ensembles, including the Excalibur Brass Quintet (2010-2013), winner of the 2011 Yale Chamber Music Competition and fellow at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the West End Brass Quintet (2008-2011). As a soloist, Matthew has prepared innovative recitals on themes of war, music of the circus and unaccompanied trombone repertoire as a means of self-examination in a digital age.
Russo has completed the coursework for the Doctor of Musical Arts at The Hartt School, where he studied with John Rojak. He has presented lectures on his study of Charles Wuorinen’s Trio for Bass Instruments and Trombone Trio as well as continuing his research in music for trombone ensemble. He earned his Master of Music at the Yale School of Music where he studied with Scott Hartman and received his B.M. in Trombone Performance and Music Education at The Hartt School where he studied with Dr. Ronald A. Borror.