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John Morris Russell


Pops Conductor

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John Morris Russell, conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra

A remarkable artist with boundless enthusiasm for music-making of all kinds, John Morris Russell is a modern conductor who engages and enthralls audiences with the full breadth of the orchestral experience. Conductor of the Cincinnati Pops since 2011, Mr. Russell’s diverse programming and electric stage presence have infused new creativity and energy into one of the world’s most iconic orchestras. The Pops has released four celebrated commercial recordings so far during his tenure and introduced the American Soundscapes online video series, reaching a global audience of nearly half a million. Mr. Russell has also led the Pops on tours to Florida in 2014 and Asia in 2017.

Consistently winning international praise for his extraordinary music-making and visionary leadership, this Ohio native is also Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina where Mr. Russell’s commitment has yielded a new level of artistic excellence. He has also served as the Principal Pops Conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic since 2015. A popular guest conductor throughout the United States and Canada, he also holds the title of Conductor Laureate with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Ontario, Canada, where he served as Music Director for eleven years.

With the Cincinnati Pops, Mr. Russell regularly leads sold-out performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. Additionally, he conducts the Pops at the Riverbend Music Center and in concerts throughout the Greater Cincinnati region and on tour. He also often leads the annual Classical Roots performances with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Russell has collaborated with generations of great performers including the late Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, as well as Idina Menzel, Vince Gill, Branford Marsalis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Megan Hilty, Common, Cynthia Erivo, Amy Grant, Brian Wilson, Steve Martin, Katharine McPhee, Rhiannon Giddens, Rosanne Cash and Marvin Winans, among many others.

A sought-after guest conductor across the continent, Mr. Russell has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Other recent engagements include the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, among many other ensembles.

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Cincinnati Pops presents American Soundscapes


The Cincinnati Pops is proud to present AMERICAN SOUNDSCAPES, a new video series featuring performances captured live by our friends and partners at CET Public Television. This fifth video explores the incredible music of John Williams with the Lost in Space theme, conducted by John Morris Russell.

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