A native of Greensboro, Russell McKinney is the Minister of Music for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cary, North Carolina where he oversees the entire program and personally directs seven of the eight ensembles. The St. Paul’s Choir released its first CD, “A Babe is Born” in the fall of 2017 under his direction. McKinney is also currently active in NC as free-lance bass trombonist. He is the bass trombonist of the North Carolina Opera Orchestra in Raleigh and the Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra in Greensboro. He is a frequent guest musician with the North Carolina Symphony, as well as the Greensboro and Winston-Salem Symphonies and plays in orchestras for many of the top tier ensembles in the Triangle. McKinney is a composer and arranger and has an ongoing publishing relationship with Cherry Classics, Ltd.
McKinney spent 22 years as the bass trombonist of the Utah Symphony Orchestra, one of the nation’s few full-time professional orchestras. As a tenured member of the USO, he participated in many commercial recordings and television broadcasts, local and national, including the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics. During his time in Utah, he also served as Music Director for Mount Tabor Lutheran Church, ELCA followed by eight years as Music Director for the historic First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City. There he founded the Community Concert Series that was anchored by the FPC Choir and included performances by top local ensembles and nationally recognized groups, such as the Concordia College Choir and the North American Welsh Choir. Many performances of the First Presbyterian Choir under McKinney’s direction are on YouTube.
McKinney was also the Music Director for the Westminster College Chamber Orchestra at Westminster College in Utah for two seasons until leaving Utah. He taught applied low brass lessons at several institutions including the University of Utah, Snow College, and Brigham Young University in Provo and gave trombone master classes at Universities across the nation. Since his return to NC, he has presented master classes at Appalachian State University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
McKinney has performed as guest bass trombonist with Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony of Washington, D.C., and the Kennedy Center Orchestra, and in recent seasons with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
A faculty member at the Eastern Music Festival in the late 80’s, he returned in 2017 as a guest faculty and performer for part of the Festival.
McKinney is a past board member for the Triangle Brass Band and currently serves on the board of the Raleigh Concert Band. He is married to Linda, a paralegal and soprano, and they have three grown children and one grandchild.