Russell Svenningsen, DMA, M.M.

Russell Svenningsen, DMA, M.M.

Associate Professor of Music; Director of Vocal Studies; Conductor of The Augustana Choir

School of Music


DMA in Music Education, 2013, Boston University; M.M. in Choral Conducting, 1998, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; BME, 1994, Concordia College


Dr. Russell Svenningsen is director of vocal studies and associate professor of music at Augustana University. He is the sixth conductor of the Augustana Choir, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021. He holds a DMA in music education from Boston University, an M.M. in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and a B.M. in music education from Concordia College. He has studied conducting with Dale Warland, René Clausen, Jon Washburn, Elmer Thomas, Earl Rivers and John Leman and voice with Daniel Weeks, Mark Schowalter and Margaret Hanegraaf.


Svenningsen is an active conductor, performer and clinician. He has worked with professional, high school and community choirs across the U.S. and abroad. He is the first and only South Dakota-based conductor to have directed the South Dakota All-State Chorus — a choir of nearly 1,000 singers from all over the state in 2021. He is also a member of the GRAMMY-nominated South Dakota Chorale. As a solo artist, recent projects include a recording of Franz Schubert’s epochal song cycle Winterreise with Debra Reid and livestreamed recital of Schumann’s Dichterliebe with Dr. Shu Li during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Svenningsen is a proud member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, National Collegiate Choral Organization and National Association of Teachers of Singing.


Svenningsen is the adoring husband of Sarah and proud father of two children, Anders and Annika. He is an avid woodworker and a deeply terrible golfer.