Russell Donnellon is an innovative and versatile
performer whose style reflects the wide scope of
his influences. He joins the classical guitar (its technique,
repertoire, counterpoint and sonic palette) with the
harmonic and improvisational impulse of jazz.
Romantic, deeply textured, vividly evocative and
heartwarming, it is supported by the rhythms of Brazil,
the Caribbean, Spain, the Gypsies, and American
Pop, Country, Blues, Jazz and Gospel. Russell pushes
the envelope of the orchestral and emotional potential
of the solo guitar.

A headliner at the 2002 New York Guitar Festival,
(an international roster of stringed instrument players)
Russell received fine reviews from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. As a headliner at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival, Russell received an overwhelming reception and reviews.

In 2004, Russell was a part of the "Guitar Harvest" compilation CD (a program of master guitarists) as a
benefit for public school music education.

He has produced 3 CDs of original solo guitar music and
two CDs of familiar classics.


At age ten, Russell began performing popular music in the New York City area. He spent his high school years playing gospel music at churches and festivals in the northeast. His university studies were in classical composition, jazz and philosophy. They were augmented by his interest in traditional musics from around the world.


Russell soon found himself traveling to Spain, South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Africa where he
absorbed the music at its source.


Russell moved to California in the 1980s and abandoned ensemble playing altogether. Instead he focused on playing solo nylon-stringed guitar. In love with the rich and gentle tones of the Spanish guitar, he immersed himself in Flamenco and Brazilian music, performing at Latin clubs and jazz festivals in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In the late 80s, Russell began experimenting with busking (playing for donations and CD sales) on the New York City streets, Central Park, and at art fairs in the New York area.


Russell began touring nationally in the 90s and is currently on tour eight months per year performing concerts, educational workshops, private engagements and entertaining on the art fair circuit.

The challenge of attracting and maintaining an audience in these environments teaches an artist about the value of the listener. The sale of recordings at performances is direct, and Russell relishes the personal communion with people. In this manner he hopes to be true to both himself and his audience.

Russell loves to tap into the energy of the people as a source of inspiration for the improvisation at hand. He engages them in a lively emotional dialogue, pulling at the threads of common human experience. Few performers are more comfortable with their audience and few listeners are able to resist the message of this dynamic performer.