Russell Patterson, one of the founders of Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the company's artistic leader for 40 years, has supervised over 180 different productions and conducted more than 1,000 performances in Kansas city and on tour throughout the region. Maestro Patterson also organized The Kansas City Symphony and served as its Artistic Director for the first four years, later being appointed Conductor Emeritus. Other positions have included Festival Director and Principal Conductor at the sunflower Music Festival; Artistic Director, Point Lookout Festival; Music Director, Missouri River Festival; and Artistic Director, Sunflower Music Festival. He has appeared as guest conductor in opera and concert engagements in Mexico City, London, New Your, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Sacramento, as well as the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, Amerika Haus Concerts and the Tegernsee Bach Festival. He has taught at the Conservatory of Music at Kansas City and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Maestro Patterson, a graduate of the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award, the Dean's Award, and helped establish the Middle America Opera Apprentice Program in conjunction with the conservatory. He is a Fulbright Scholar and has degrees from Southeastern Lousiana University, Millsaps College, New England Conservatory of Music and Park College. He has also studied at the Staatischer Hochschule fur Music in Munich and has had private study and master classes with such notables as Leonard Bernstein, Walter Herbert, Pierre Monteaux and others.
Maestro Patterson has served on the Advisory panels for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council, as a consultant to the Ford Foundation, and on the Board of directors of OPERA America. He has been the recipient of the nationally prestigious Conductor's Award from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University; the W.R.Yates Medallion from William Jewell College; the First Creative Achievement Award from Northwest Missouri State University; Doctorate in Fine Arts from Park College; Pirouette Award for Performing Arts contributor of the Year; was named Alumnus of the Year by the University of Missouri at Kansas City and its Alumni Association; and received the Missouri Arts Award from the Missouri Arts Council. He was also honored at the OPERA America 25th Anniversary conference for his years of dynamic leadership of Lyric Opera of Kansas City.