David Russell is an exceptional classical guitarist with a solid international concert and recording career. He is noted for including new or unfamiliar music in most of his recitals and for his command a wide spectrum of tone colors.
When he was five, Russell's parents moved the family to Menorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. His father, an artist, was an avid amateur guitarist, so it was natural for him to pick up the instrument, and his father became his first teacher. He cannot remember when he did not play the guitar. Before he could read music, he could play pieces by ear that he had learned from listening to Andrés Segovia recordings. He also later played violin and French horn.
He returned to Britain at the age of 16 to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London. There his primary teacher was Hector Quine. He also continued to study horn and violin. As a student, he twice won the Julian Bream Prize in guitar. He graduated in 1974 with a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholarship. In 1975, the Spanish Government granted him a special grant to enable him to return to Spain and continue his studies with José Tomás in Santiago de Compostela.
In the next few years, he won the major Spanish guitar prizes -- the Ramirez Competition of Santiago de Compostela in 1975, the Andres Segovia Prize of Palma de Mallorca in 1977, the Alicante Prize, and the most prestigious of all, the Francisco Tarrega Competition. He made his Wigmore Hall (London) and New York debuts in the same year, 1981, and has since performed and recorded widely in concerts, recitals and music festivals.
Russell has recorded primarily for the GHA and Telarc Records labels, and on Opera Tres he recorded the complete works of Francisco Tarrega. He has made recordings of several works of the Paraguayan composer Agustín Barrios Mangoré and Spanish composer Federico Moreno-Torroba and a release comprising the three solo guitar concerted works of Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuéz, Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, and Concierto para una Fiesta.
Composers who have written music for him include Jorge Morel, Francis Kleynijans, Carlo Domeniconi, Sergio Assad, and Guido Santorsola. He has performed in the major concert venues of the world in North and South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. He is known for an attractive and outgoing stage presence, a quality that carries over into his frequent stints as a teacher of master classes, for which he is much in demand. The London Royal Academy of Music named him a Fellow in 1997. He won a Grammy in 2004 in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his album, Aire Latino.