Dr. Russ Weil was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. An educator at heart, Russ has been a teacher and administrator with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board since 1969, serving as an elementary and secondary school teacher, a high school department head, and Co-ordinator of Music. As Co-ordinator, Russ was responsible for music education from kindergarten to grade 13 for over 40,000 students. From 2003-2009, he served as an instructor in music education at the Brock University Faculty of Education. In 2001, he received a Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Russ is the Founder and Artistic Director of Hamilton All Star Jazz, a community based organization that boasts 3 Jazz Big Bands for young people ranging in age from 12 to 25. The All Star Jazz Band, which Russ continues to direct, has released 9 CDs with some of Canada’s greatest legends of jazz as guest artists including Rob McConnell, Guido Basso, Pat LaBarbera, Kenny Wheeler, Phil Nimmons and David Braid. Over 1,000 young musicians have been active in this organization since its inception some 34 years ago.
Graduates of the Hamilton All Star Jazz Band have won numerous Juno and Grammy Awards.
In 2003, Russ was granted an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from McMaster University for his extensive work with young people and the arts. Other awards include the City of Hamilton Arts Award, 2 Paul Harris Fellowships from the Rotary Club of Canada, a Laura Secord Award from the Sertoma Club of Hamilton, a Community Service Award from the Hamilton Spectator, and multiple awards from Mohawk College, the Town of Ancaster, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Lung Association, and the International Association for Jazz Education. Russ has travelled extensively as an adjudicator and clinician for school and music festivals throughout Canada. He holds a B.A. in music from McMaster University, an M.Ed. in Curriculum Planning from O.I.S.E., University of Toronto, a D.Litt. from McMaster University, and an A.R.C.T. from the Royal Conservatory of Music , University of Toronto, in vocal performance.