Russell Kerns is a leading force in the younger generation of Classical Saxophonists. As a Soloist, Russell has performed with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, University of Michigan's Symphony Band, Saratoga Wind Symphony, and the Midwest Community Band. Russell has also given many recitals throughout Chicago, as well as venues across the country. He is an endorsing artist/clinician for Conn-Selmer and performs exclusively on Selmer and Yanagisawa Saxophones.
One of his goals is to contribute to the rapidly expanding repertoire of the Saxophonist and has already begun commissioning composers and premiering new works. One of his former major projects was leading the Jim Stephenson Saxophone Concerto Consortium. This Project has led to over 20 different ensembles/soloists spanning from California to New England to perform Jim's new piece from 2018-2020.
Teaching is a vital part of what Russell does as a musician and is currently on faculty as a saxophone teacher at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, IL. Through Merit, he teaches weekly fundamental classes for his students, as well as weekly private lessons. He also serves as Director of Bands at Burley Elementary, working with 4th-8th grade students in wind band repertoire and fundamentals. Russell has also been featured as a guest artist for masterclasses at the University of Southern California, Vanderbilt University, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan State University, Saratoga High School, and the Merit School of Music.
Russell has also done well in the competition circuit winning the international Arosa Prize and soloing with the Georgian Chamber Orchestra. Russell also won 3rd place in the Vandoren Emerging Artist competition, as well as being a Finalist at the ISSAC competition, and a finalist in the Classics Alive Artists Competition. Russell was the soprano chair of the Adamas Saxophone Quartet which held a place with Detroit Chamber Winds Youth ensemble in Residence. Adamas won the 2016 Briggs Chamber Music competition at University of Michigan, as well as being finalists at the MTNA chamber music competition. Russell's chamber experience has also led to him recently subbing on Alto Saxophone with the Moanin' Frogs on their Kansas/Missouri Tour that played to an audience of 1000 students.
Russell holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in Music education/Music Performance from Northwestern and a master’s in music performance from University of Michigan. His primary teachers include Frederick L. Hemke, and Timothy McAllister. Russell has also worked with the Masato Kumoi Quartet, John Sampen, and Chien-Kwan Lin.
Lakes Area Music Festival
715 Laurel Street
Brainerd MN 56401
Hours*: W, F 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. *call to confirm during off-season