Doctorate of Musical Arts student receives prestigious young conductor award

May 01 2019

Doctorate of Musical Arts student, Stephanie Rhodes Russell was among the 10 young conductors in the nation to receive the 2019 Career Assistance Award from The Solti Foundation

The Solti foundation exclusively assists young American conductors. They receive applications from all over the country, but only a few are awarded. Rhodes Russell is the first conducting student from the U to receive this recognition.

After attaining degrees in Collaborative Piano and Piano Performance form Utah State University and the University of Michigan, Rhodes Russell came to the U to study under the Director of Orchestral Activities, Robert Baldwin. She will complete her doctorate in Orchestral Conducting this May. She is also an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and San Francisco's Merola Opera program.

“To say I’m proud of her is an understatement,” said Baldwin. “But also to say she did much of this on her own, is also the truth. She’s a self-directed, focused, and career minded musician. I think this should be heralded as an example of one of our students entering the profession after graduation at a high and very promising level for her career.”

Rhodes Russell most recently was appointed as Associate Conductor of the Grand Teton Music Festival. She will make her European conducting debut this fall 2019 with Staatsoper Stuttgart's Junge Oper im Nord. Russell with also return to San Francisco Opera to serve as Cover Conductor for Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.

"I’m immensely grateful to the Solti Foundation U.S.,” said Rhodes Russell. “Their generous support has impacted the lives of 78 young conductors since inception and, in turn, all the musicians with whom they associate. To see my name alongside those of such talented colleagues is an absolute honor. Professional advancement as a conductor depends on the willingness of organizations to invest in you and your potential, whether that is in hiring or providing financial support, and I anticipate that this will greatly assist in the next steps of my career.”

Her engagements include Handel's Alcina for the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, and the Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative. She was commissioned by The Dallas Opera to transliterate Tchaikovsky's Iolanta, and selected to participate in the inaugural 2015 Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera, subsequently joining the Miami Summer Music Festival to conduct Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Rhodes Russell has served on the music staff of the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia, The Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Washington National Opera, amongst others. As a Fulbright award recipient, she spent the 2012/13 season in Moscow specializing in Russian repertoire and pronunciation for non-native singers while working as a guest coach at the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. She is founder and Board Chair of the non-profit Women's Artistic Leadership Initiative (Women's ALI).