for the Musicians' Portrait Project
Russell Hartenberger is Professor of Percussion at the University of Toronto. He is a founding member of Nexus and has been a member of Steve Reich and Musicians since 1971.
Russell began his percussion studies in Oklahoma City with Alan Abel. After Mr. Abel left Oklahoma City to join the Philadelphia Orchestra, Russell studied with Tom Gauger and K. Dean Walker. He received his B.Mus degree from the Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Fred D. Hinger. Upon graduation from Curtis, he joined the U. S. Air Force Band and toured throughout the U.S., Europe and South America as xylophone soloist. While in the Air Force Band, Russell received his M. Mus degree from Catholic University where he again studied with Alan Abel.
Russell holds a PhD in World Music from Wesleyan University where he studied mrdangam with Ramnad Raghavan of South India, tabla with Sharda Sahai of North India, Javanese Gamelan with Prawotosaputro and West African Drumming with Abraham Adzinyah.
He has been a member of the Oklahoma City Symphony, Philadelphia Lyric Opera Co., percussionist at the Marlboro Music Festival, Principal Percussion of the New Haven Symphony, and timpanist with the Canadian Opera Company; he performs frequently with the Toronto Symphony.
He has also performed with the Paul Winter Consort, Ensemble Modern of Germany, John Wyre's World Drums, Woodstock Beat, and New Music Concerts of Toronto. In addition, he has worked and/or recorded with Gil Evans, Jimmy Garrison, John Cage, John Adams, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Glen Velez, Iannis Xenakis, Pablo Casals, Canadian Brass, Kronos String Quartet, Peter Serkin, Trichy Sankaran, Richard Stoltzman and Yo-Yo Ma.
With Steve Reich and Musicians he has recorded for ECM, DGG and Nonesuch Records. He performed on the Grammy Award winning recording of Music for 18 Musicians. With the Reich Ensemble, Russell has toured throughout the world and performed with the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Cologne Radio Orchestra, London Symphony and Brooklyn Philharmonic. The conductors he has played under include Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kent Nagano, Peter Eotvos, Paul Hillyer, Brad Lubman and George Manahan.
As a member of Nexus ( http://www.nexuspercussion.com/ ) Russell has performed with leading orchestras in North America, Europe and Asia. He performed on the Academy Award winning documentary, The Man Who Skied Down Everest. His awards include the Toronto Arts Award in 1989, Banff Centre for the Arts National Award in 1997 and, along with the other members of Nexus, was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999.
He lives in Toronto with his wife, artist Bonnie Sheckter and their two daughters, Laura and Carla.