Russell Poyner (25) began playing the guitar at the age of nine. With Birmingham Schools Guitar Ensemble, he performed at Birmingham Symphony Hall, the South Bank Centre and on a concert tour of Hungary. From 1995 to 2001, Russell studied with the leading English classical guitarist Simon Dinnigan at Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating with a BMus (hons) and PG Dip.
Several contemporary composers have written guitar works specifically for Russell, which he has been proud to premiere. In 1999 he premiered Louis Clark's Guitar Concerto No.1 at the Adrian Boult Hall and at the CBSO Centre. Russell has also taken master classes with Fabio Zanon, Aniello Desiderio, Hubert Käppel, Elena Papandreou, David Russsell and maestro Oscar Ghiglia.
In 2000 Russell won the Birmingham Conservatoire Guitar Prize and was runner-up in the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician of the Year. His solo performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 2, as was the live final at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, at which he performed the "Adagio" from Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with the BBC Concert Orchestra. In November 2000 Russell recorded music for the Channel 4 documentary BullFight, and in spring 2001 he took part in the fifth Bolivar Hall Guitar Festival.
In April 2002 Russell made his full London debut in a special
concert to celebrate the centenary of the Spanish composer Antonio José.
The Imperial War Museum hosted the concert - described by one critic as a "triumph"
- as part of their Spanish Civil War exhibition "Dreams + Nightmares".
In May 2002 Russell was awarded second prize at the Tenth International Pfhingst
Seminar in Koblenz, Germany. In the summer of 2002 Russell was accepted on to
the guitar course at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. Awarded
a scholarship by the Accademia, Russell studied with maestro Oscar Ghiglia.