Mark Russell is a violinist, composer, and teacher.
He began studying violin at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia.
In his late teens, he became interested in Jazz, Blues and traditional music from
Ireland and Australia. Joining The Sundowners in 1983, he toured extensively around
the world, and began to incorporate musical styles from India, China, and Indonesia
into his compositions and improvisations. He performed in front of stadium
crowds with The Sundowners during a 3 month tour as opening act for Dire Straits
Meanwhile, his interest in Jazz and Blues continued to grow through direct contact
with artists such as Stephane Grappelli and Brownie Macgee. In 1991 he left
The Sundowners and moved to Paris, where he continued to explore diverse venues
for violin performance in theater as well as clubs. Moving to the United States
in 1994, he formed the groups Paris Match, and Ekyo, recording cds with both.
He also toured as featured artist with the Phat Cat, a Soul/R&B group.
Highlights include concerts at The House of Blues in New Orleans and in
Chicago, the Capitol Jazz festival in Washington D.C., and on The Tom Joyner Fantastic
Voyage. His Phat Cat backed performance of
Ain't no Sunshine was an R&B hit in 2000 and was recently included on
the Atlantic records compilation Rare Requests.
In addition to live performance, Russell has become increasingly involved with
studio work, performance art, and film music. In 1999 he produced a cd of unaccompanied
solo improvisations, and with Ekyo,
Earth Music a cd of compositions and improvisations for violin, didgeridoo
and percussion. In 2001 he was invited to perform at the Max-Planck-Institut in
Bonn, Germany, and at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques
in Luminy, France. For these performances he conceived an ongoing project
to express the process of mathematical discovery through music. He plans
to produce a cd based on this concept. Also that year he appeared with mime theater
group Odoroka in a special performance for the delegates of the U.N. International
Conference for the Enviroment in Bonn, Germany. He recorded music for the
Victor Nunez film
Coastlines, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, and
composed and performed music for the short film
Reflections produced by Danish artist Mikkel