NEXUS with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra percussion section on November 16, 2014 in a concert featuring a work of Russell’s at his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music (Russell is the second from the left)

I have been working with Russell since 1979 as a member of Steve Reich and Musicians and since 2002 as a member of NEXUS. Anyone who has had the honor of working with Russell knows the joy of music making with someone with such insight and musicality. I doubt the music of Steve Reich would be quite the same without Russell’s involvement since the early 1970s. His ability to play musical techniques never before attempted gave Steve the confirmation that his unorthodox ideas were possible. Russell has been and continues to be an inspiration to me.

The prestigious Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts was given to Russell on May 30th for his contribution as a world class musician, his profound influence as a teacher and his achievements as a scholarly writer. One of his recent books is a diverse collection of essays by many prominent performers and educators, offering a unique insight into our world of percussion. Called The Cambridge Companion to Percussion, it includes an article by Steve Reich entitled “Thoughts on Percussion and Rhythm.” A more recent publication is Russell’s Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich. Both books were published by Cambridge University Press.

Congratulations to Russell for a very well-deserved recognition.

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