Dr Gillian Ward Russell
Choral conducting has been part of Gillian’s life since the age of 14 when she first became a church organist and director of a church choir. She has been Musical Director of Maldon Choral for the past 15 years and has conducted a variety of music with them ranging from well-known repertoire such as Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria, to lesser known masterpieces by Cherubini and William Russell. On occasion the choir also likes to sing lighter music including operetta and songs from stage and screen.
Gillian enjoys working with other musicians: teaching organ, piano, and theory are also important parts of her work. Increasingly, she feels drawn to supporting and encouraging music-making in her own area. Gillian knew from the age of 11 that she wanted to be an organist, and she is enjoying passing on her enthusiasm for the instrument and its music to the younger generation, in particular with her ‘Ten Pieces’ initiative.
Gillian’s academic work earned her a PhD for her research into the early 19th-century composer, William Russell. She gave a recital of his music for BBC Radio 3 and has lectured on his music at Yale University in the USA. Her scholarly mind enables all her performances, whether solo organ or conducting choirs, to have a lively authenticity. Above all, Gillian is respected for her powers of communication.