Born near Glasgow in Scotland in 1968, an early interest in music saw Russell Gray pick up his father's trumpet by the age of 9. Within a few years he had won many national solo prizes including the under 17 solo championship of Great Britain by the time he was 12.
In 1986 Russell moved to Yorkshire to study music, joined the world famous Black Dyke Mills Band and then moved to the Leyland band sitting next to his teacher Phillip McCann on assistant principal cornet. Russell left University with a distinction in performance and took the principal cornet seat with the Britannia Building Society Band in 1990, followed by a move back to the Leyland band on principal cornet, leading them through a successful period, which resulted in the band obtaining the World ranking number one.
Russell's conducting career started when he was appointed resident conductor of the Stavanger Band in Norway in 1998. Russell moved back to England in 2001 as Principal Conductor of the Ransome Band. Along with many successful tours and concerts with the band, the highlight was obtaining a second place at the National Championships in the Royal Albert Hall in 2000. In 2002,the Fodens Richardson Band approached Russell to conduct them and within the first year had obtained three 1st prizes and two 2nd placings in five contests, taking them to the World ranking number one.
2006 saw a slight change of direction in his career when he was guest conductor with the Wrexham Symphony Orchestra, followed by conducting the Queensland 'Pops' Orchestra during their New Years Concert in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and the Cambrian Philharmonic Orchestra for two concerts in the 2008 season.
Russell not only works with adult ensembles but also enjoys conducting youth bands. He has been course director for the Swiss National Youth Band, and the Queensland Youth Band in Australia. He has been cornet tutor with the National Youth Band of Norway, and the National Youth Band of Scotland, he also maintains a close relationship with the Greater Gwent Youth Band in Wales and regularly takes them to competitions in the UK.