A Cornishman, Russell Pascoe was educated at Helston School and Bristol University where he studied composition with Derek Bourgeois. He is the Head of Music at Richard Lander School where he conducts four choirs. In 2000 he was nominated as one of Classic FM's Music Teachers of the Year; he was runner-up in the South West Teacher of the Year 2004.
Russell has had work widely performed in this country and abroad - in France, Sweden, Holland, Australia and Turkey. He has also been the subject of two television programmes. His Four Cornish Folksongs for voice and piano was written at the request of Benjamin Luxon; this work has proved popular and was used (in the orchestrated version) to close the first Daphne Du Maurier Festival. In June 1997 Russell's orchestral work The Martyrdom of An Gof received its premier at the Barbican Centre, London. It was subsequently performed in Truro Cathedral.
Pascoe's opera The Murder of Charlotte Dymond, with a libretto by Christopher William Hill, was performed in the Hall for Cornwall in 1999 to critical acclaim. The lead role was written for and performed by Suzanne Manuell with whom the composer has a close working relationship. Cornish Sinfonia, in its inaugural year, provided the orchestra.
Russell has developed a fruitful partnership with St Mary's Singers. This has resulted in commissions, Love's Agonie, (Three Medieval Lyrics) and Salmow Kernewek which was premiered to an enthusiastic audience in November 2006. These works were recorded on CD in November 2008. Pader an Arluth, a setting of the Lords Prayer in Cornish, written to celebrate the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Cornwall and Lo, how a Rose have
recently been recorded by Truro Cathedral Choir and released on CD.
In 2007 his orchestral piece,Yseult of the White Hands was commissioned and performed by Cornish Sinfonia.
Pascoe's Missa Brevis is now part of the liturgy at Truro Cathedral as are his Canticles. These have been recorded for release by Regent Records in late 2013.
Recent commissions have included works for the National 'Sing-up' strategy, Keskan to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Cornwall Music Festival, songs for a touring production of TIN with ETO and My heart is like a red, red rose for the International Male Voice Choir Festival 2011.
The Harrowing of Hell, a work for four soloists and organ, was written to celebrate Amnesty International's 50th Anniversary celebrations
In 2012 Pascoe received two commissions from Truro's main choirs, a short piece to open Truro Choral Society's 50th Anniversary Concert and a substantial work for the Three Spires Singers. For the latter he wrote the Secular Requiem which was premiered in the Cathedral in March 2013. The choir have decided to give its second performance at the Cadogan Hall in November 2013, on the same night as his Kernow bys Vyken receives its premiere in the Royal Albert Hall.
In recognition of his services to music in Cornwall Russell was elected as a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd in 2000.