The Lucy Moore Ruffin Chair
Michelle Di Russo is Associate Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony where she is responsible for conducting the Symphony’s extensive statewide music education concerts. She has conducted UNC Health Summerfest performances, Young People's Concerts, and Statewide Holiday Pops concerts with the Symphony. She has also been featured in the Symphony’s “Behind the Music” concert preview videos. Recently Di Russo has conducted North Carolina Symphony in classical subscription performances in Chapel Hill and Wilmington.
A graceful and powerful force on the podium, Michelle Di Russo is known for her compelling interpretations, passionate musicality, and championing of contemporary music. She is an advocate for underrepresented artists and in 2020 co-founded the organization Girls Who Conduct to support younger generations of women and non-binary conductors in overcoming obstacles they face due to their gender.
Di Russo’s artistic journey began in her native country, Argentina, at the age of three with ballet lessons, followed by studies in voice and piano. She has acted on television and onstage. Di Russo holds multiple degrees in Orchestral Conducting from Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, University of Kentucky (M.M.), and Arizona State University (D.M.A.). She is a Freeman Conducting Fellow in Chicago Sinfonietta’s prestigious Project Inclusion program and a recipient of the Concert Artists Guild’s Richard S. Weinert Award.
Previously, Di Russo served as Interim Director of Orchestras at Cornell University, Assistant Conductor for the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra, cover conductor and assistant for The Phoenix Symphony and Arizona Musicfest, and as a conducting fellow at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Italy. She has also acted as cover conductor for the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2022, she served as the Joel Revzen Conducting Fellow at Festival Napa Valley.