Russell Hepplewhite, recently named one of the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential People in London, has won critical acclaim for his ground-breaking operas for children including Shackleton’s Cat, Silver Electra, Borka the Goose with No Feathers and Laika the Spacedog, which recently was seen in a new production at Theater Fribourg in a co-production with the Comique in Paris. Laika, originally a new production with English Touring Opera, has also won two major awards at the prestigious Armel International Opera Festival and then toured to Avignon Opera. In the upcoming seasons, Laika will have another new production in Germany, and he will debut a large scale education production, Climat, for Opera National de Montpellier. Russell will be the Farnham Youth Choir composer in residence this season.

Outside of children’s opera, his choral music is published with Banks Music Publishing and he is the resident composer for Arcubus Ensemble. His music appears on CD releases for labels including Regent Records and has been featured on BBC Television and Radio, as well as being performed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Wigmore Hall, the Library Theatre Luton, the Purcell Room and the Queen Elizabeth Hall. He has received numerous awards, including the PRSF David Bedford Award and two major prizes from the Armel International Opera Festival.

Recent highlights include a song-cycle entitled It was born of the Stars for Glyndebourne, Parallel, an Olympics-inspired musical commissioned by the Salisbury Playhouse, two melodramas for narrator and piano for the actor Timothy West, and several instrumental and choral pieces which have been performed in concert series’ and festivals, including the King’s Lynn Festival, European Opera Day, Denver Cathedral Concerts and Musiques à Pontorson in France.

Russell is currently collaborating with various ensembles and soloists, including Counterpoise, Svyati Duo, Contempo Ensemble, all of whom have commissioned pieces to be performed or recorded over the next year.

Russell is also active as a pianist, teaches Composition and Musicianship at the Royal College of Music Junior Department and is an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. He was awarded a scholarship to study composition and piano at the Royal College of Music following previous studies at Chetham’s School of Music.

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Margaret Levine
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