Russell Sherman is one of the most eminent pianists in the U.S., particularly known for his recordings of Liszt piano music and Beethoven's sonatas. Sherman was raised and educated in New York City. He began playing piano at the age of six. By the time he was 11, he had progressed so rapidly that he was accepted as a student by Edward Steuermann, a great pianist who had been a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni and a friend of Arnold Schoenberg and was particularly known for his interpretations of Beethoven and music of the twelve-tone school.
Sherman made his debut at New York's Town Hall at the age of 15, an acclaimed performance. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities from Columbia University while he was only 19. He studied composition with Erich Itor Kahn.
Initially, he made a reputation in contemporary piano repertory and became known for a precise technique and deep insight into a variety of musical styles and performed widely in the United States. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and New York's Orchestra of St. Luke's, with which he performed a cycle of the complete Beethoven piano concertos. He also performed and recorded these five concertos with the Czech Philharmonic.
In addition, he has performed in England (appearing in Queen Elizabeth Hall in London), Russia (where he played at the Tchaikovsky Hall), France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Canada, various countries in South America, and Korea. As a recitalist, he has played in the Distinguished Artists series at New York's 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall's Keyboard Virtuoso Series, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Ravinia Festival, the Ambassador Foundation Series in California, and the Bank of Boston Celebrity Series.
In 1959, he joined the faculty of Pomona College (1959-1962), then the University of Arizona (1962-1967), and since 1969 has been on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music. He is now a Distinguished Artist-in-Residence there. He has published a warmly received book of anecdotes, vignettes, and insights about his life playing piano, Piano Pieces (1996, Farrar, Straus & Giroux). In 1973, he gained major international recognition with a recording of Liszt's Transcendental Etudes. In 1986, he joined the faculty of the Juilliard School, and the faculty of Harvard University in 1990 as a visiting professor.