Armand Russell was born in Seattle, Washington in 1932. He received the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Washington with a major in music composition and the Doctorate in music composition from the Eastman School of Music. He studied composition with John Verrall, George McKay, Bernard Rogers, and Howard Hanson. Professionally, he played the double bass in symphony orchestras including the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops Tour Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic and Civic Orchestras, and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. He also taught as a visiting professor at the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Russell's career at the University of Hawai'i Music Department spanned from 1961 until his retirement in 1994 as Professor Emeritus.
While at the University of Hawaii he taught music theory and composition and served as Chairman of the Music Department for seven years. Under his leadership, the department earned national accreditation by NASM (National Association of Schools of Music), and the graduate program was expanded. He was a prolific composer whose output included many works for double bass and percussion in solo, chamber and concerto formats. Some of his frequently performed published works include the Pas de deux for clarinet and percussion, Sonata for Percussion and Piano, Suite Concertante for tuba and woodwind quintet, Theme and Fantasia for band, Chaconne for double bass and piano, Buffo Set for double bass and piano, and Harlequin Concerto for double bass and orchestra (or piano), and several works for chorus. Dr. Russell now lives in Santa Rosa, California.