David Russell: “If You Are Not Confident in What You Intend to Offer, Then You Will Find It Difficult to Inspire Confidence in Others”
Professor of Guitar and Director of the Joaquín Turina Conservatory in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain.
This interview with renowned classical guitarist David Russell delves into his experiences during the ongoing pandemic, highlighting both challenges and unexpected opportunities it presented. Russell discusses his approach to transcribing works of Baroque composers, emphasizing the importance of adapting the music for the guitar while respecting the composer’s style. The choice between cedar and spruce tops is explored, with Russell offering insights into the tonal qualities and practical considerations of each.
The interview also traces Russell’s musical journey, from early influences and inspirations, his entry into the Royal Academy of Music in London, to the pivotal role of mentors like Emanuel Hurwitz and José Tomás. Russell shares his thoughts on stage presence, technique, and the balance needed to connect with audiences emotionally. The evolution of the recording industry, from LPs to CDs and now online platforms like Spotify, is discussed, providing a perspective on the changing landscape.
Key moments in Russell’s career, such as winning a Grammy for “Aire Latino,” are recounted, offering a glimpse into the emotions and experiences that have marked his musical legacy. The interview concludes with a focus on Russell’s latest album, “Cantigas de Santiago,” exploring its origins, the collaboration with composer Stephen Goss, and the significance of the medieval cantigas.
Russell also shares insights into his recording process, emphasizing the importance of natural acoustics and the challenges of achieving expressive performances in dry studio environments. The interview provides a comprehensive view of David Russell’s musical journey, his influences, challenges, and the ever-evolving landscape of the classical guitar world.