Widely acclaimed for his profound sense of poetry and distinctive style, Sandro Russo has performed for audiences around the world. He has unanimously received accolades for his sparkling virtuosity, and his playing has often been referred to as a throwback to the grand tradition of elegant pianism and beautiful sound. Garrick Ohlsson referred to Mr. Russo as “an excellent pianist with good sound, technique and range of styles.”
Born in San Giovanni Gemini – Sicily, Mr. Russo displayed exceptional musical talent from an early age. In 1995, he graduated summa cum laude from the V. Bellini Conservatory and earned the Pianoforte Performing Diploma from the Royal College of Music in London ‘with honors’. While still a student, he won top prize awards in numerous national and international competitions, including Senigallia, and the Ibla Grand Prize. As a result, he was invited to perform in some of the country’s most prestigious concert halls.
Soon after Mr. Russo came to the United States in 2000, he won the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, and performed Liszt’s A major Concerto with Maestro David Gilbert at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ. Early in 2002, Mr. Russo gave an acclaimed Chopin recital at the prestigious Politeama Theatre in Palermo, Italy, and later appeared at the Nuove Carriere Music Festival, an international showcase for the world’s most promising young musicians.
Mr. Russo has given solo recitals for The Rachmaninoff Society in London, Memphis, and New York, as well as the American Liszt Society – New York Chapter. He has also performed at the Salle Cortot in Paris and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. More recently, he has been heard in concert at Carnegie Hall, the Moiseiwitsch Recital Series at the Music Festival of the Hamptons, the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago, the Italian Institute of Culture in NYC, Concerts Grand in Santa Rosa (CA) and the Chetham’s International Piano Festival in Manchester, U.K, where he also joined its distinguished summer school’s faculty. This past November the Italian Academy Foundation presented Mr. Russo in a sold-out Chopin & Schumann anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall, which drew a standing ovation from the audience.
Mr. Russo has appeared as a soloist with the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, The Jacksonville Symphony in Florida, the Brussels Chamber Orchestra at the opening gala of The Music Festival of the Hamptons (2008), and in July 2008 he had a triumphal return to his homeland in Sicily, giving three outdoor performances of the Rachmaninoff 3rd Piano Concerto in tour with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana. He was also a featured soloist with the New York Asian Symphony during their Japan tour in June ‘09.
Mr. Russo’s extensive repertoire comprises well-known masterpieces of all periods as well as more obscure and challenging works of the piano literature by such composer-pianists as Medtner, Sorabji and others. He has also been given the honor of premiering compositions by Lowell Liebermann, Paul Moravec, and Marc-André Hamelin. Lowell Liebermann wrote of him: “Sandro Russo is a musician’s musician, and a pianist’s pianist. There is no technical challenge too great for him, but it is his musicianship that ultimately makes the greatest impression. His interpretations reveal a unique and profound artist at work.”
Sandro Russo’s performances have aired on WFMT Chicago, WQXR New York, RAI Sat Show and the Slovakian TV. In January 2009 Bechstein-America invited Mr. Russo to record a DVD on the historical 1862 Bechstein piano (#576) owned by Franz Liszt. In addition, in February 2010 he recorded a DVD on the Steinway & Sons CD-75, i.e. the legendary piano on which Vladimir Horowitz performed for his concerts at the Met and London’s Royal Family in the 80s.