About the Cello Studio

Welcome to the Cello Studio at The University of Southern Mississippi

On this page you will find information about the cello program and degrees, audition requirements, as well as a number of useful links. Should you have any questions, please contact University of Southern Mississippi cello professor, Dr. Alexander Russakovsky.

Thank you for your interest in our music program!


The Southern Miss cellists form an international community that includes students from the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Brazil and Chili.

Weekly individual lessons provide guidance for establishing a strong and healthy technical foundation, help students to cultivate a sense of stylistic awareness and develop an ability to critically analyze their own performance. The release of physical tension and the development of a stress-free approach to the instrument are given priority on the first stage of the instruction. Subsequently, the students are encouraged to explore the vast realm of interpretation and to discover multiple ways of expressing their musical ideas.

The Cello Recital class meets every Tuesday morning throughout the academic year. It is designed to be a forum where the students perform, discuss their current repertoire and play in a cello choir. Additionally, this class is used as an opportunity to develop basic skills in the area of cello pedagogy.

Orchestra Repertoire class is a detailed study of the most essential excerpts from the orchestral cello literature. The course culminates in a screened mock audition played for the string faculty panel in the end of the semester.

Instrumental Literature class is designed for music performance and education sophomores and seniors who already possess a basic knowledge of the standard string repertoire. The main emphasis is placed on the analysis of the style periods, genres and individual works that can be regarded as critically important in the history of the instruments of the violin family.


Degrees in cello performance and music education offered by The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music:

  • Bachelor of Music
  • Master of Music
  • Doctor of Musical Arts

More information about music degrees is available at www.usm.edu/music/degrees.php

Financial Aid

A considerable number of scholarships are awarded by the School of Music every year. The amount of the award depends on your financial needs and audition results. If your audition is approved by the string faculty, you will be asked to submit other application materials, such as your academic transcripts, ACT/GRE and TOEFL (for international students) scores and application fee. Once your file is complete, we will send you a letter specifying your scholarship award (typically, the scholarship decisions are made in mid-April).

Financial Aid
Office of Admissions
International Admissions

English Proficiency

International students who hadn’t been able to pass the TOEFL exam prior to their arrival in the US can take advantage of a preparatory course at The University of Southern Mississippi English Language Institute. During this period, they will perform with the Symphony Orchestra and enjoy weekly cello lessons.

Minimum TOEFL Scores:
Paper Exam - 525
Computer based - 197
Internet Based Test – 71   

English Language Institute