Russell is 18 years old and currently a freshman at Northwestern University. Russell began playing the saxophone in 6th grade at Piper Elementary school in Berwyn, IL. He started taking lessons from Shawn Tracy at the end of his sophomore year in high school. Mr. Tracy is part of the bridges program and is the band director of Russell’s school band. He is also one of the saxophone teachers at the Merit School of Music. Mr. Tracy asked Russell to try to further his musical prowess by auditioning for the Tuition-Free Conservatory at Merit. Upon admittance to the Conservatory, Russell became part of the Merit Wind Symphony, conducted by Bryan Polacek, for two years. In addition to being in Wind Symphony, Russell was part of the Merit Honors saxophone quartet playing alto in his junior year, and then the soprano saxophone his senior year. He has won several awards with this quartet, those being Honorable Mention at the Midwest Young Artists Chamber Music Competition two years running. Russell has also been successful as a soloist placing second at the Merit School of Music Concerto Competition, placing honorable mention at the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra competition, and winning a scholarship at the Merit School of Music Private Lesson Scholarship Competition. He has also performed Jaqcues Ibert’s Concertino Da Camera at Symphony Center in Chicago. Russell plans on continuing with music in college by becoming a music education major and has began to pursue a degree from Northwestern University studying under Dr. Hemke.