View Full Version : R.I.P. Russell Foster

Scott Tichenor
May-15-2004, 7:24am
I heard from Norman Levine last night that Russell Foster passed away on Tuesday. I can't say I knew him well but you only had to meet him once to know he was a real special guy. Russell was a visible mover and shaker in the east coast classical mandolin scene and quite a bit of a character to say the least. Two years ago he and Don Lewis, both well into their 80's drove out to Mandofest (hard two-day drive) and proceeded to charm the socks off of everyone and party late into the night as good or better than the younger guys. I remember marvelling with a few mandolin friends that I hoped we were that fun and as tough at their age. Hoping someone else who frequents here can add a bit about this remarkable guy and his career. I know he'll be missed by his friends and family.

Jonathan Rudie
May-16-2004, 1:05am
Russell's passing is a great loss to the mandolin world. #I was fortunate to meet him a handful of times. Besides being a great musician, he composed wonderful music for mandolin orchestra, including pieces that are currently being played by the Baltimore Mandolin Orchestra. #I always enjoyed reading his numerous #and always clever columns, articles and letters in the CMSA (Classical Mandolin Society of America) newsletters under his pen name of Russel Who. He will be missed greatly.

May-16-2004, 10:31am
Besides contributing many fine arrangements to the B.M.O. library, he often helped fill out our chronically undermanned cello section at concert time. His musicianship and good humor were always welcome.
What I remember most about Russell is the way he would lead the jam sessions at parties given by BMO concertmistress Joyce Adams at her waterfront home. He would pass out books of arrangements to the players gathered on Joyce's back deck and basically take over, calling out tunes and page numbers, leading with his vigorous mandolin playing and singing, making the party come alive. I remember him saying that his gray hair was a result of his diet - he had eaten too much birthday cake!
Would that we all get to eat as much birthcay cake, and spread as much joy as did our dear departed friend.

Greg Stec
May-21-2004, 4:26am
Russell Foster will live forever on the Baltimore MO's first CD. #We performed his arrangement of Mio Babino Caro and many who I know who bought the disc bought it for that piece.

Russell and I first met at a mandolin master's class in Fairfax, VA. @ 1987. #About 7-8 years ago, he performed with the BMO, playing his 1915 K2(?) mandocello. I believe that mandocello was his most prized possession, as it was as old as he was.

He will be missed. #