Lucy Russell | baroque violin
Lucy Russell was born in Germany of Scottish/Norwegian origin, but has lived mainly in London. She was a Junior Exhibitioner at the Royal Academy of Music, going on to take music degrees at the University of York, where she gave the first British performance of the Norwegian composer Alfred Janson’s violin concerto Forspil, based on Hardanger violin traditions. While still a student she was invited to play with London Baroque and the English Baroque Soloists, and by the City of London Festival as a solo violinist in their production/recording of Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea.
She has been a member of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet since 1988, becoming its leader in 1995; with them she has played all over Europe, North America, the Middle East, and South Africa, as well as making recordings for Linn Records, Divine Art, the BBC, and various foreign radio stations. She has recorded for Channel Classics, Hyperion, DG, and Decca with other ensembles, having been leader of Florilegium, Concerto Caledonia, Classical Opera Company, Retrospect Ensemble, the Finchcocks Quartet, The King’s Consort, Dunedin Consort and the New Chamber Opera Band of Players, as well as a director of the Scottish Early Music Consort and a solo violinist in the New London Consort. She has been leader of The Yorkshire Baroque Soloists for approaching 30 years and has also toured and recorded with them. She is also a regular visitor with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. With her ‘modern’ hat on she has been guest leader for the City of London Sinfonia playing under the late Richard Hickox.
She has taught and given masterclasses all over the world – including the Czech Republic, the United States, South Africa, and Russia. Closer to home, she has worked at the Royal Academy of Music with the Modern Instrument Baroque Orchestra, and at Trinity College of Music, Royal Holloway College London, Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, Birmingham Conservatoire, York University, the Royal Northern College of Music, St Mary’s Music School Edinburgh, and Pro Corda. She is Professor of Baroque Violin at the Royal College of Music and visiting Professor of violin at St Andrews.
Her recent recording of Bach’s Obbligato violin sonatas with John Butt has received very positive reviews across the board: “Russell’s beautifully polished playing reveals an affecting relish for the music’s searching expressivity…” (Sunday Times).
Lucy likes to divide her time between performing on period instruments and their “modern” counterparts, exploring music from Purcell to the present day. She plays on a violin by Ferdinando Gagliano, made in Naples, Italy, in c1789. Her baroque violin is by Charles Harris of Adderbury. She is increasingly in demand as a teacher and director, with a special interest in the use of Mindfulness around performance.
Hear Lucy in: Introduction to the Baroque, Late-night Bach Cantatas, For the love of coffee, Gourmet baroque