Richard Perry, Principal Tuba
Richard Perry has been Principal Tuba with MSO for the past 10 years. He acquired a love for music while singing as a child in church choirs. His love affair with the tuba also began as a child, having played this instrument since 1979.
Perry is a resident of Hattiesburg and is associate professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he has taught for the past 11 years. His previous teaching experience involved four years each at the University of Montevallo and the University of Wisconsin.
A native of Kingston, Tenn., Perry received a bachelor of science degree at Tennessee Tech, a master of music degree from the University of Illinois, and a doctor of musical arts degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is also Principal Tuba in the Gulf Coast Symphony and substitutes on occasion with the Louisiana Philharmonic.
For relaxation, Richard enjoys reading and listening to jazz. He owns one dog and two cats.
Alexander Russakovsky, Cello Principal
Alexander Russakovsky has been the strong leader of the cellos in the Meridian Symphony Orchestra since arriving at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2001.
His studies of cello have include the Leningrad Conservatory, the Jerusalem Rubin Academy, where he received his bachelor of music degree, a master's degree from the Yale School of Music, and a doctorate of music in cello performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
His solo and chamber appearances are noteworthy and worldwide from Russia, Israel and across Europe, and now, the United States. He is a founding member of the Jerusalem Academy String Quartet, performing with this group throughout Europe. Russakovasky's orchestral engagements include the Leningrad Philharmonic, Savannah Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Mobile Symphony, and the Meridian Symphony.
Russakovsky is renowned as a teacher at USM, having students travel many miles from their home communities to learn the art of the cello. Clayton Vaughn and Benjamin Johnson are two Meridianites who have made the trips to USM as teenagers to study with him. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he is active as a member of string and piano/string ensembles.