Student composer, pianist, and vocalist Neara Russell has been winning awards for her original rock songs since she started writing them while growing up in Wisconsin. She was 17 when she arrived at Berklee as a full-ride Presidential Scholar. Her ICA performance features an intimate setting in which to get familiar with an innovative new voice in rock music.
Russell, who is from Spring Green, Wisconsin, was homeschooled but participated in local bands and choirs. She found her way into the Wisconsin School Music Association and competed at state music festivals, placing first for solo performances in piano, voice, bass clarinet, and xylophone. Her first-ever composition won Best Vocal Solo in a statewide writing contest, the first of many for her original song cycles and and rock music.
In 2006, Russell was invited to perform her original work "Lemonade Pie" on the weekly National Public Radio program From the Top. She was also asked to write and and perform a country tune about her birth, which she named "Born in a Pickup Truck." As an honoree of the From the Top's Young Composer Project, she was granted a mentoring session with Academy Award-winning composer John Corigliano, and was made a cultural leader and role model for the arts, performing and discussing composition for schoolchildren in New York, Boston, and Wisconsin.
Russell's vision is "to create art that is sophisticated and fun, intelligent while universally accessible, with unique imagination in every aspect."
She recently released a debut CD with original art songs, Food for the Gods, recorded with soprano Wendy Rowe.
Once a month, Berklee student performers with innovative original music representing a wide range of styles perform in the State Street Corporation Lobby at the ICA. The Water Café by Wolfgang Puck serves refreshments.