About Russell Scarbrough
Russell Scarbrough’s compelling, visceral works reflect a diverse array of musical resources, drawing inspiration from both the jazz tradition and from contemporary classical music. His music is filled with stimulating themes, and brims with rich contrasts and unpredictable rhythmic energy. A four-time ASCAP Plus Award recipient, Scarbrough's works are regularly performed by jazz ensembles, orchestras, and chamber groups internationally, and he makes frequent appearances as an educator, a conductor, and a performer.
His compositions and arrangements have been performed by the Fort Worth Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Santa Rosa Symphony, Columbus Symphony, Anchorage Concert Chorus & Orchestra, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Eastman Studio Orchestra, Bemus Bay Pops Orchestra, American Jazz Composer's Orchestra, Dublin City Jazz Orchestra, Baltimore Jazz Alliance Big Band, the US Army Blues Jazz Ensemble, and the US Naval Academy Next Wave Jazz Ensemble. Classical chamber soloists and groups such as Peter Sheridan, Mark Kellogg, the Areté Woodwind Quartet, Vocasynth, ensemble.twenty.21, and the Irrera Brothers Duo have premiered his concert works, and jazz soloists such as Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Ali Ryerson, Clay Jenkins, Charles Pillow, Eric Alexander, and Stefon Harris have performed his jazz works. Recent performances have taken place at Carnegie Hall, the National Flute Convention, the International Trombone Festival, and on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Scarbrough directs two main projects for showcasing his original music and arrangements: his 19-piece ensemble, the Russell Scarbrough Jazz Orchestra, features his own works in a strikingly original voice; while his 12-piece Soul-Jazz Big Band features his arrangements of classic jazz from the 1960's and 70's.
As a trombonist, Scarbrough was Assistant Principal Trombone in the Gettysburg Symphony Orchestra from 1990-1995, performing the Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto for Trombone during the 1992-1993 season. He studied trombone with John Gifford, John Melick, Wayne Wells, Harry Watters, Mark Kellogg, and John Marcellus. As a performer, he has shared the stage with a host of jazz greats, including Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Bob Brookmeyer, Johnny Mathis, Marian McPartland, Peter Erskine, Dick Oatts, Rufus Reid, Bob Sheppard, Conrad Herwig, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis, Eddie Daniels, Chuck Mangione, Pat LaBarbera, John Nugent, Byron Stripling, Marvin Stamm, Frank Tiberi, John Fedchock, Danny Gottlieb, Gary Foster, Barry Harris, Joey Sellers, Frank Vignola, Chuck Marohnic, Greg Hopkins, Jim Snidero, and Charlie Byrd.
From 2005 to 2013, Scarbrough was director of the Roberts Wesleyan College Jazz Ensemble. The ensemble regularly performed his original compositions, and featured well-known jazz artists. During his tenure as director, the ensemble was known for its excellence in a diversity of styles, from the classics of big band jazz to cutting-edge works by emerging composers. Presently he teaches Music History and Orchestration at Roberts, and also serves on the faculty of Genesee Community College and the Csehy Summer School of Music.
Russell Scarbrough studied composition with Hank Levy at Towson State University, and Bill Dobbins at the Eastman School of Music, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 2008. He lives in Rochester, New York.
“[Bow Shock] is a jazz-tinged, driving, hyper-energetic work that invites the listener to fasten his seatbelt for the ride. It was a win-win-win: the Irreras can be well pleased that this work shows them to such great advantage. Scarbrough should be delighted with such accomplished musicians giving his music such a dynamic performance.”
Jeffrey Williams, New York Concert Review, New York, NY
“Wonderful music, lovely... Lyrical, sweet and filled with anticipated motion! Bravo!”
Peter Sheridan, low flutes specialist, Monash University, Australia
“The arrangements not only look beautiful (and are free of errors -- how do you do that?) but are superbly crafted... You really made it possible for me to have the program I intended.”
Dr. Grant Cochran, artistic director, Anchorage Concert Chorus
“If you want to hear the jazz orchestra music of the future, check out the Russell Scarbrough Big Band... the stars of the show may be Scarbrough's innovative compositions and distinctive arrangements, using the big band palette in fresh and decidedly different ways.”
Ron Netsky, Rochester City Paper
“Russell Scarbrough has a growing collection of engaging, challenging, and innovative large ensemble charts for serious musicians. He has a fresh voice as a writer and is a humble and passionate conductor. This music needs to be widely performed!”
Bill Tiberio, Jazz Ensemble Director, Fairport (NY) HS; University of Rochester, and Eastman Community Music School
“Russell's music is as colorful as it is thoughtful. There is not an easier person to work with on special projects such as these, and THAT makes music making all the more enjoyable!”
Tom Davis, composer, K-12 Music Supervisor, Canandaigua City School District, Canandaigua, NY
“...My students and I especially loved the time he spent with us working on the piece. It was a great experience for them to hear about the piece straight from the composer. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in a great jazz ensemble piece to look no further. The personal attention and outstanding music will make it an experience both you and your students will remember for a lifetime.”
Brian Ecton, Director of Instrumental Music, Calvert Hall College, Baltimore, MD
“Working with Scarbrough has been a wonderful experience for our ensemble! They were thrilled to receive a commission that recognized their strengths and potential in extremely creative ways.”
Barry Long, Jazz Band Director, Bucknell University
Download images for print:
Conducting shot (photo: Chris Bennett)