About Me

Born in Oklahoma in 1978, Russell Thorpe moved to Kansas City in 2005 and has been writing and performing music for a wide variety of ensembles and players ever since.   He is an active performer on saxophones and bass clarinet and has performed with, among others, Black House Collective, Phonologotronic, and the People's Liberation Big Band.

He is an advocate for new music in all styles and genres. The currents of history influence but do not dominate his music. He is patiently pursuing the unending chase of excellence in his music, trying to learn something new each with each piece.

His compositions are known for their challenging rhythmic profile and nuanced use of harmony. They range in size from a large-scale piano concerto for full orchestra to traditional "head-solos-head" jazz tunes.  

He is equally at home with both the rigorously notated world of "new music" and freely improvised music and performed throughout Kansas City with a diverse range of musicians.

Joe Klopus of the Kansas City Star writes of his trio the Phonologotronic; "they are adept at messing with your expectations of what a small band can sound like and what kind of material a "jazz" band should playWith this band he is particularly interested in how our memories intersect with performance and how our memories are both malleable and fallible, and how these vagaries can give rise to subtle variations in each performance.

He has given guest talks at UMKC and KCKCC.  Recent performances include Ancient Inspiration for the Black House Collective's 11th workshop in collaboration with the Nelson-Atkins Museum Innovation Lab, and the recent premiere of his contribution to the Black House/KcEMA collaborative opera project Rites of Being in May 2013, Dark Price. He is currently working on a variety of projects in preparation for Black House Collective's upcoming Black Lab New Music Festival

He has recently moved into a studio residency with Charlotte Street Foundation's Urban Culture Project. This will allow his performance installation duo Mnemosyne, to have a home studio in which

we will begin building a large electro-acoustic composition made from the words and voices of fellow resident artists and performers in the space.

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