Trombonist Matthew Russo has a diverse career as an educator, freelancer, and advocate of new music. He is Instructor of Trombone at the University of Connecticut and in demand throughout Connecticut as a teacher and performer.
In addition to his studio at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Russo is on faculty at The Hartt School Community Division. At Hartt, he was director of the Hartt Trombone Ensemble from 2012-2016. Under his direction, the Hartt Trombone Ensemble premiered ten new works and raised more than $2,000 for local charities as part of its annual holiday benefit concert series. He served as Director of Bands in the Lower School at Hamden Hall Country Day School from 2011 to 2012 and as a teaching artist of the Yale Music in Schools Initiative from 2010-2012. He also was on faculty at the Morse Summer Music Academy at The Yale School of Music in 2010 and 2013.
Dr. Russo is the Principal Trombonist with the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra (CT) and regularly appears with the Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Wallingford, and Greater Bridgeport Symphony orchestras. He plays in various theatre productions throughout the state, as well as regularly appearing at the Goodspeed Opera House and the Ivoryton, Monomoy, and Hartford Stage theatre companies.
Dr. Russo has premiered over a dozen new works, many of which were written explicitly for him or his ensembles. His recent commissions and premieres include works for trombone and fixed media, and trombone with actor. His most recent world premiere of Robert Carl’s Updraft involved the recording of nine multi-tracked 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; the project has included works by Stephen Feigenbaum, Timothy Cooper, Ted King-Smith, Erik Nielsen and David Macbride.
Russo is two-time winner of the Paranov Concerto Competition and earned second place at the 2012 International Trombone Association Alto Trombone Competition. He 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, Russo 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. He has appeared as soloist with the Connecticut Valley Symphony Orchestra, and with many ensembles at UConn and Hartt.
Dr. Russo received his Doctor of Musical Arts from The Hartt School, where he studied with John D. Rojak. He has presented lectures on Charles Wuorinen’s Trio for Bass Instruments and Trombone Trio. His main area of research is in the music for the collegiate trombone ensemble. His doctoral essay, “Transcribing the Fourth Movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 4,” discusses the compositional techniques used by transcribers and arrangers when writing for the trombone ensemble. He earned his Master of Music at the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Scott Hartman. He received his Bachelor of Music in Trombone Performance and Music Education at The Hartt School, where he studied with Dr. Ronald A. Borror.