Maestro Russell is also conductor of the Cincinnati Pops, one of the world’s most iconic and beloved pops orchestras. The Cincinnati Pops’ recorded legacy continues under his leadership, including Home for the Holidays (2012), Superheroes! (2013), Carnival of the Animals (2014) and the first live recording of the Pops, American Originals (2015). In December 2014, he led the Cincinnati Pops on their first-ever Florida tour, and in March 2017 led the sixth Pops tour to Asia, including performances in Shanghai and Taiwan.
For the last six years, Russell has served as Music Director of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra in South Carolina, and conductor of the prestigious Hilton Head International Piano Competition. Under his leadership, the HHSO has enjoyed unprecedented artistic growth; concert attendance has blossomed and the orchestra has doubled the number of concerts they present.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Russell has worked with many of North America’s most distinguished ensembles. He frequently conducts Canadian orchestras, including Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Kitchener-Waterloo and Orchestra London. In the US, he has led the orchestras of Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, Louisville, Milwaukee, Miami’s New World Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Colorado Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, and New York City Ballet. Abroad, he conducted a concert at the Musikverein in Vienna that featured the Harlem Boychoir, the Vienna Choir Boys and actor Gregory Peck. The performance continues to be televised throughout Europe, Japan and in the USA on PBS.
Between 2001-2012 Maestro Russell served as Music Director of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in Windsor, Ontario. He was named Conductor Laureate of the Windsor Symphony Orchestra in 2012. Watch John Morris Russell's welcome message to Buffalo.