A graceful yet powerful force on the podium, Argentinian conductor Michelle Di Russo is known for her compelling interpretations, passionate musicality, and championing of contemporary music. Currently serving
as Associate Conductor on her third season with North Carolina Symphony, she is a 2023 Dudamel Fellow with the LA Philharmonic and mentee of the Taki Alsop Fellowship. Di Russo is a former conducting fellow with 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.
The 2023/24 season includes guest conducting debuts with LA Philharmonic, Knoxville Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Salisbury Symphony, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra and Arizona Musicfest. She will also be acting as cover conductor for St. Louis Symphony and performing regularly with the North Carolina Symphony as part of her position. This past summer, Di Russo was a conducting Fellow at the Lucerne Festival Academy, working closely with Baldur Brönnimann, leading sectionals and first readings as well as premiering pieces from the composer’s workshop program with International Ensemble Modern Academy. She also had the opportunity to work with Susanna Mälkki on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring as part of a masterclass that is to be aired on Medici.tv.
In previous seasons, Di Russo had guest conducting debuts with Vermont Symphony and Portland Symphony and worked as cover conductor for St. Louis Symphony, National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and San Diego Symphony. She was a 2022 Joel Revzen fellow at the Napa Valley Festival and has served as Interim Director of Orchestras at Cornell University and Assistant Conductor of the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra. 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.
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, Baldur Brönnimann and Carlos Vieu.