Russell Patterson, Conservatory Alumnus and Former Artistic Director of the Kansas City Symphony Has Passed


The UMKC Conservatory is saddened to state that Russell Patterson has died.  Maestro Patterson taught at the  Kansas City Conservatory of Music, was a horn player (notably with the Kansas City Philharmonic 1951-59), founder of the Lyric Opera, artistic director of the Kansas City Symphony 1982–86, and founder of the Sunflower Music Festival, Washburn University, Topeka, KS, among many other achievements.  As an alumnus of UMKC, having received his MM from the Kansas City Conservatory, and his DMA from the UMKC Conservatory, Patterson also received the UMKC Alumnus of the Year Award in 1990, and the Conservatory Alumni Achievement Award in 1984.

Conservatory Dean Peter Witte notes, "Russell Patterson's legacy is immense. Professor Patterson helped chart our course for the arts in Kansas City. We mourn his loss, celebrate his life, and are grateful for his vision and energy."

Deborah Sandler, General Director and CEO of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City said, “We were saddened to learn the news of Russell’s passing. His legacy to Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Kansas City community cannot be overstated. His 40-year tenure from 1957 to 1998 encompassed many groundbreaking accomplishments. His vision, commitment, and creativity led Time magazine to pronounce the Company as “a valid and important part of the American operatic explosion.” Without his ceaseless energy and imagination which created a strong opera and arts foundation in Kansas City, we would be not be here today.”

The Kansas City Star's obituary is here.


For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949