Russell Ballenger

Russell Ballenger's Biography

Russell Ballenger is a freelancing trombonist and educator in Houston, TX. Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Russ has performed with the Amarillo Symphony, Mississippi Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic and the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the Four Tops and in the National Broadway tour of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical!. Russ founded and directed the BisMan Big Band, based in Bismarck, ND. He has presented as a clinician at the National Association for Music Education Conference; Minnesota Music Educators Conference; South Dakota Music Educators Conference; and at such prestigious institutions as Boise State, West Texas A&M, Brandon and Indiana Universities.

As an educator, Russ teaches at Lone Star College-Kingwood and has previously been on faculty at the University of Mary and Bismarck State College. In addition to teaching low brass and directing the jazz ensemble at the University of Mary, he was the coordinator of the annual University of Mary Jazz Festival, where he and the UMary Jazz Ensemble shared the stage with renowned guest artists, including Dave Douglas, Matt Wilson, Terell Stafford, Ulysses Owens Jr., Alex Iles, Donny McCaslin, Joey Tartell, Luke Malewicz, Glenn Kostur, Jay Ashby and Matt Harris. Russ has taught jazz trombone and directed student big bands at the International Music Camp and has been the clinician for the jazz band music reading session as part of the annual JW Pepper New Sounds Music Reading Sessions in Bismarck, ND.

An active proponent of commissioning new works for the trombone, Russ commissioned, premiered and recorded "Glint" for unaccompanied trombone by Dr. Lisa Bost-Sandberg. "Glint" was selected as the winner of the 2016 American Trombone Workshop’s composition competition and was performed by Russ at the 2016 American Trombone Workshop in Washington, D.C. Russ holds degrees in trombone performance from Indiana University (B.M.), the University of New Mexico (M.M.) and the University of Alabama (D.M.A.). While attending both the University of New Mexico and the University of Alabama, he served as Graduate Assistant in Jazz Studies. His primary teachers include Peter Ellefson, Karl Hinterbichler and Jonathan Whitaker, with additional studies with Ian Bousfield, Debbie Taylor, Alex Iles, Ralph Sauer and Michael Mulcahy.

Russ is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Russell Ballenger's Gear
Russell Ballenger

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