Russell Harris was born in London where he studied conducting, composition and piano at the Royal College of Music. His teachers included Vernon Handley, Sir Adrian Boult, Janos Fürst and Bernard Haitink.

After successfully completing his studies he moved to Sweden to embark on a long and productive career with the Malmö Stadsteater. It was there that he established himself as an experienced conductor of opera, ballet and musicals, not to mention countless concerts with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. Before long, he had conducted practically every orchestra in Sweden.

An early highlight was when he collaborated with Rudolf Nureyev and the Royal Danish Ballet in Paul Taylor’s highly acclaimed TV ballet “Auréole”.
Further Scandinavian posts include Musical Director of the Norrlands Opera, Director of the Nordic Festival of New Music in Malmö and Principal Conductor of the Gothenburg Opera. Also, during this period he was engaged as conducting teacher at the Malmö Academy of Music

In 1985 he made his debut at the Royal Opera in Stockholm conducting Jean-Pierre Ponelle’s production of “Carmen”. This led to regular appearances there as guest conductor.
In 1991 he moved to Germany to take up the post of First Kapellmeister at the Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar. This was followed by his appointment as Generalmusikdirektor of the Theater Altenburg-Gera. His numerous guest appointments have taken him to all parts of the world, including China, Canada, France and the USA.
Between 2003 – 2011 he was engaged as Chief Conductor of the South-Westphalian Philharmonic Orchestra. His work with this orchestra took them to some of the most prominent concert halls in Germany (e.g. Berlin, Essen, Hamburg and Dortmund). A memorable highlight was the highly successful concert tour to China in 2007.

Since 2011 Russell Harris has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras all over the world, including such ensembles as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, and the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn.
In 2014 Russell Harris returned to China, this time to take up the post of Chief Conductor of the Xi’an Symphony Orchestra.
In 2017 he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha-Eisenach.

Russell Harris is also regarded as an expert in the field of symphonic jazz; he has directed numerous performances of well-known musicals, film concerts as well as cross-over concerts.

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