Christopher Russell, M.M.

Chair, Department of Performing Arts, Associate Professor
Conductor of Symphony Orchestra
Instrumental Conducting
Phone: (626) 815-3848
Office Location: Warren Music Center
Photo of Christopher Russell, M.M.

Video Introduction


Christopher Russell is Associate Professor at Azusa Pacific University in the College of Music and the Arts and Coordinator of the Orchestra Program at the Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). Russell received his Bachelor's degree in Composition from Cal State Fullerton and his Master's degree in Conducting from Indiana University.

Russell has conducted numerous premieres, including the first U.S. performances of works by Jonathan Harvey, Anders Hillborg, Tristan Keuris, Magnus Lindberg, Per Nørgård, Tansy Davis, Brett Dean, Kaija Saariaho and Éric Tanguy. In 2008, Russell conducted the U.S. premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's "Stockholm Diary" for string orchestra with the Azusa Pacific University Symphony Orchestra.

Russell's musical interests also extend to conducting rarely heard older music including U.S. and local premieres of works by Havergal Brian, Rued Langgaard, Allan Pettersson, Leopold Damrosch and Heitor Villa-Lobos.

For six consecutive years (1999-2004), ASCAP recognized Russell's work with the OCSA Symphony by presenting him with their Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music, including First Place awards for four consecutive years. He also won the award in 2009 and 2014.

He has conducted at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, concert halls in England as well as guest conducted at the MasterWorks Festival in Indiana in 2013 and 2014.

Russell regularly gives pre-concert lectures for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Philharmonic Society of Orange Country. For the LA Phil, he has hosted post-concert discussions on the Walt Disney Concert Hall stage with musicians such as Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Dawn Upshaw and Emanuel Ax.


  • M.M. in Orchestral Conducting, Indiana University
  • B.A in Composition, California State University, Fullerton

Academic Area

  • School of Music (College of the Arts)


  • Music History
  • Music Theory
  • Orchestral Conducting

Courses Taught

  • MUS 271/371/588: Symphony Orchestra
  • MUS 363: Instrumental Conducting
  • MUS 455: Late Romantic and 20th Century Music
  • GMUS 510: Graduate Conducting II (Instrumental)
  • GMUS 511/512: Graduate Conducting III and IV (Applied Lessons)