A graceful yet powerful force on the podium, Argentinian-Italian conductor Michelle Di Russo is known for her compelling interpretations, passionate musicality, and championing of contemporary music. Currently serving
as Associate Conductor on her second season with North Carolina Symphony, she is a former conducting fellow
of Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion program, The Dallas Opera Hart Institute, as well as a recipient of the Richard S.Weinert award from Concert Artists Guild.
Highlights of Di Russo’s 22-23 season include guest conducting debuts with Portland Symphony and Vermont Symphony as well as engagements acting as cover conductor for St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Arizona Musicfest. The past summer, Di Russo was a Joel Revzen fellow at the Napa Valley Festival where she led the orchestra in two concert cycles and the staging rehearsals of the production of L'elisir d'amore.
Di Russo has recently served as Interim Director of Orchestras at Cornell University, Assistant Conductor for the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra and cover conductor for San Diego Symphony, Ballet Arizona, and The Phoenix Symphony. She has also been the recipient of the American Austrian Foundation/Faber Young Conductors Fellowship (selected by members from the Vienna Philharmonic), a Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Conducting Scholarship at the Cabrillo Music Festival of Contemporary Music, and was a conducting fellow at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy.
Past performance highlights include curating a Spanish Holiday Concert experience and a bilingual production of Peter and the Wolf for the North Carolina Symphony; assisting on productions of Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte for Prague Summer Nights Festival in in the Czech Republic; leading the state premiere of Annika Socolofsky’s Gaze at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music; and leading the premiere of Carlos Simon’s This Land at Arizona’s Gammage Memorial Auditorium’s “Beyond the Concert Series.”
During the pandemic Di Russo co-created Girls Who Conduct, an organization dedicated to bridge the gap between women and men in the conducting field and encourage younger generations of women and non-binary conductors to overcome any obstacles presented due to their gender.
Trained as a professional dancer since the age of three, she continued her studies in voice and piano, leading to participations in Argentinian and Disney TV shows. Prior to switching her focus to the podium, she was a cast member of a professional musical theatre company by Cibrian-Mahler while an undergraduate, gaining insight into the ways of a working theatre. This passion for theatre has endured in her work conducting Opera and Musical Theatre.
A native of Argentina with Italian roots, Di Russo holds a Doctoral Degree in Orchestral Conducting from Arizona State University and a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Kentucky. She completed her degree in Orchestral Conducting and Music Production of Audiovisual Media from the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, where she was awarded an Ad-Hoc Diploma for the highest grade in Orchestral Conducting.
She has participated in masterclasses with conductors Cristian Măcelaru, Emmanuel Villaume, Marin Alsop, Carlo Montanaro, and Guillermo Scarabino. Mentors include Mei-Ann Chen, Tito Muñoz, Jeffery Meyer and Carlos Vieu.