Russell Bajer has been a member of the Victoria Symphony for 19 years. He has appeared as soloist with the VS on both oboe and English horn. In 2011 he premiered Rodney Sharman’s Songs without Words for English horn and Orchestra which was recorded for CBC. He has played concerti and solos with the Sidney Classical Orchestra, The Galiano Ensemble, The Victoria Chamber Orchestra, Capriccio Ensemble and Linden Singers. Russell has been a guest oboist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Vancouver Opera orchestra and the CBC Radio orchestra. He has toured as principal oboist with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada and the US. He has also appeared in Japan with the Pacific Wind Trio.
Russell is the oboist for Aventa Ensemble and has toured extensively with them to Europe, Canada and the USA. In March 2013 Russell took part in the 6th tour with this ensemble. With the Aventa Ensemble he has had the pleasure of working closely with some of the finest composers in Canada and Europe. Russell teaches music at the Victoria Conservatory and has been guest instructor at Uvic where he has taught oboe and chamber music. He has been an instructor at Comox Valley Youth Music Centre (CYMC) since 2002 where he also appears as chamber musician and soloist.
Russell is a frequent recital performer and appears with pianist Kelly Charlton. Russell started his musical life with clarinet lessons at age 8 in Calgary Alberta. After moving to Kelowna he heard the oboe being played by a talented student and was immediately drawn to the instrument. He began lessons with Walt Burton of the OK Symphony and later with Jerry Domer (former principal oboe of the CBC Orchestra). At UBC and the Vancouver Academy of Music he studied with Roger Cole and later masterclasses with Ray Still and further studies with Fred Korman (principal Oregon Symphony). Russell spent a number of years pursuing other interests, including studying psychology, politics and even hypnosis.