Whether conducting contemporary masterpieces or bringing fresh insights to the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, Mark Russell Smith demonstrates consummate musicianship and enthusiastic commitment to the art of music-making – qualities that have endeared him to audiences and musicians alike. Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra since 2008, he has brought a newly focused artistic vision to the organization, and has welcomed YoYo Ma, Midori, Joshua Bell, André Watts, Garrick Ohlsson and other musical luminaries to the Quad City Symphony stage. An active music educator, he was named Artistic Director of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies in the fall of 2012 and has served as Artistic Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Minnesota since 2007. In that role, was the instigating artistic force behind the University of Minnesota School of Music’s Britten Peace Project, which combined musical and historical study with community engagement, culminating in critically acclaimed performances of Britten’s War Requiem in Europe and America, collaborating with German and American music students, professional musicians and the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. In 2016, he spearheaded the St. Matthew Passion project, again joining German and American students with study and performances on both sides of the Atlantic. Recent projects include appearances with the Joffrey Ballet, conducting Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, as part of a larger exploration of that work, commemorating its 100th anniversary. He has served as Music Director and Conductor of the Richmond Symphony (1999 – 2009), the Springfield (MA) Symphony (1995 – 2000) and the Cheyenne Symphony (1992 – 1999).