Our Living Composer for March is Sam Russell - a UK-based guitarist and composer, who specialises in metal and neo-classical music.
Sam first became interested in music while at school; he took his first lessons during his lunch break on a 3/4 sized guitar. After a few years' break, Sam recommenced music lessons, trying his hand at drums, bass, and finally coming back to the guitar. He became more interested in rock and metal music during secondary school, and so he began learning the electric guitar. He was heavily influenced by guitar players such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Yngwie Malmsteen.
Sam then moved to university to study astrophysics. While at university, he joined a band, with whom he spent four years playing shows across the north of the UK. He then attended the British Institute of Modern Music for a year before moving back to London, where he started teaching guitar.
While teaching, Sam continued to study and develop his playing. He recorded Bach’s 1st and 2nd cello suites on electric guitar, and also released an album of original metal songs - "Impetuous Desire". Following the release of his album, he became increasingly interested in studying classical composition, studying counterpoint and composition with George Bellas. He wrote a collection of duets for electric guitar and cello, and also wrote and released a few pieces arranged for orchestra.
The end of 2020 represented a time of large compositional output, and Sam has been releasing various compositions over the last few months (with many more to come!).
Find out more about Sam: https://www.samrussell.co.uk
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Minuet and Trio
Theme and Variations for Electric Guitar and Orchestra
Sam's top 5 classical music picks:
Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending
Tartini: Devil's Trill Sonata
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 14 "Moonlight"
Patrick Cassidy: Vide Cor Meum (from the film "Hannibal")
Bach: Cello Suites