Allen Russell is a violinist, composer and instructor based in Milwaukee, WI. He began his musical studies on the violin at age 5, and studied the Suzuki method at the String Academy of Wisconsin with Mimi Zweig and David Becker before later going on to study with Eline Skorodin, Jerry Franke, and Dr. Bernard Zinck.
Allen is a composer who works in a wide span of styles and media, ranging from contemporary classical to electronic and jazz. He has been an active collaborator with modern dance and has composed and performed multiple shows for Milwaukee Ballet and Danceworks Inc. He has also been a regular at Hyperlocal, an improvisational collaboration between musicians and dancers and works with student choreographers at UWMilwaukee. Allen composed the music for Timothy Westbrook (Project Runway)/Milwaukee Danceworks’ hit show, Paleontology of a Woman which integrated dance, Westbrook’s signature fiber art and music featuring the Tontine Ensemble. Allen has performed his compositions, with Danceworks MKE, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee’s MELT series, and privately at the Pfister Hotel, Hotel Metro and the Milwukee Art Museum. Allen also accompanies modern dance classes at UWMilwaukee. As a violinist, Allen has performed steadily over the years and has appeared at Milwaukee Jazz Estate, the Green Mill Chicago, Evanston Space, Traverse City Film Festival, Midwest Gypsy Swingfest, Chicago Gypsy Swing Festival, Summerfest, and on the air at 91.7FM and 88.9 Radio Milwaukee. He has worked extensively as a strolling violinist and leads Swing Chevron, a hot swing ensemble that plays a mix of Allen’s original music and classic hot club swing jazz. Swing Chevron had the pleasure of performing at the 2014 Midwest Gypsy Swingfest in Madison, 2015 Gypsy Swing Festival in Chicago at the Green Mill, and hosts the Swing Chevron Presents Series at Anodyne Walker’s Point. Allen also performs as a member of the Tontine Ensemble, a new music string quartet specializing in improvisation. The Tontine Ensemble has performed in Alverno Presents: Prince Uncovered, scored films for the Milwaukee Film Festival, premiered several works by new composers, and performed in collaboration with Milwaukee Danceworks and Milwaukee Ballet.
As an enthusiastic educator of the violin and music theory/composition, Allen works with students privately at Hartford Union High School, his home on Milwaukee’s East Side, as well as at the Academy of Performing Arts in Franklin WI, and Korinthian Violins in Bayview.
Allen is a registered Suzuki teacher, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Fine Arts in String Pedagogy from UW Milwaukee.