A founding member of the Spektral Quartet, Russell Rolen has presented solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Based in Chicago, he performs regularly in the Chicago area and around the Midwest, appears frequently on Chicago’s WFMT, and is the principal cellist of the Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Miami, FL.
Russell is passionate about teaching, and in the past has held posts teaching musicians from kindergarten through college and beyond. In addition to maintaining a private cello studio, he coaches chamber music at Northwestern University. The Spektral Quartet was recently named ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, where they coach the student chamber music, present workshops and concerts, and work with the University’s vaunted composition department.
An avid performer of new works by living composers, he has developed full recital programs consisting entirely of new works for cello solo and cello/piano, and through his Quartet has commissioned new works by a dozen composers. He also created moderncellotechniques.com, a multimedia resource for cellists and composers to explore the extended techniques of contemporary music.
In June, Russell was awarded the Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University. He received his Master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was the recipient of the Paul Collins Distinguished Graduate Fellowship, and earned his Bachelor’s degree at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Maryland.