The Scottish guitarist, David Russell, was born in Glasgow, and while still very young (age 5), moved with his parents to Menorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. His father, an artist, was an avid amateur guitarist. It became natural for David to pick up the instrument, and his father began to teach him to play it. He cannot remember when he did not play the guitar. Before he could read music, he could play the pieces by ear that he had learned from listening to Andrés Segovia recordings. When he got somewhat older he also learned to play violin and French horn.
David Russell returned to Britain at the age of 16 to attend the Royal Academy of Music in London. There his primary teacher was Hector Quine. He also continued to study horn and violin. While studying, he twice won the Julian Bream Prize in guitar. He graduated in 1974 with a Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Scholarship. In 1975, the Spanish Government granted him a special grant to enable him to return to Spain and continue his studies with José Tomás in Santiago de Compostela. In the next few years, he won the major Spanish guitar prizes - the José Ramírez Competition of Santiago de Compostela in 1975, the Andrés Segovia Prize of Palma de Mallorca in 1977, the Alicante Prize, and the most prestigious of all, Spain's Francisco Tárrega Competition.
David Russell made his Wigmore Hall (London) and New York debuts in the same year, 1981, and has since performed and recorded widely in concerts, recitals and music festivals. He has performed in the major concert venues of the world in North (New York, Los Angeles, Toronto) and South America, Asia (Tokyo), Australia, and Europe (London, Madrid, Rome).
David Russell is an exceptional classical guitarist, known for an attractive and outgoing stage presence. He is world renowned for his superb musicianship and inspired artistry, which have earned the highest praise from audiences and critics alike. He is noted for including new or unfamiliar music in most of his recitals. An often-mentioned attribute of his playing is his command over a wide variety of tone colour. His love of his craft resonates through his flawless and seemingly effortless performance. The attention to detail and provocative lyrical phrasing suggest an innate understanding of what each individual composer was working to achieve, bringing to each piece a sense of adventure. Composers who have written music for him include Jorge Morel, Francis Kleynijans, Carlo Domeniconi, Sergio Assad, and Guido Santorsola. His qualities carries over into his frequent stints as a teacher of master-classes, for which he is much in demand.
David Russell has recorded primarily for the GHA and Telarc Records labels, and on Opera Tres, he recorded the complete works of Francisco Tarrega. Since 1995 he has an exclusive recording contract with Telarc International, with whom he has recorded 12 CD's up to now, among them Aire Latino, which received a grammy in 2005. He has made recordings of several works of the Paraguayan composer Agustín Barrios Mangoré and Spanish composer Federico Moreno-Torroba and a release comprising the three solo guitar concerted works of Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuéz, Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, and Concierto para una Fiesta.
In recognition of his great talent and his international career, David Russell was named a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music in London in 1997. In May 2003 he was bestowed the great honor of being made "adopted son" of Es Migjorn, the town in Minorca where he grew up. Later the town named a street after him, "Avinguda David Russell". In November 2003 he was given the Medal of Honor of the Conservatory of the Balearics. In 2005 he was GRAMMY award winner for his CD Aire Latino, in the category of best instrumental soloist in classical music. After winning the grammy award, the town of Nigrán in Spain where he resides, gave him the silver medal of the town in an emotional ceremony. In May 2005 he received a homage from the music conservatory of Vigo, culminating with the opening of the new Auditorium, to which they gave the name "Auditorio David Russell".