About Us

The Duo

Comprised of pianist Joel Clifft and violinist Alex Russell, Apollo Duo is a genre-defying ensemble that combines tradition and innovation. Their repertoire consists of classical, jazz, Latin, crossover, and pop pieces that define the Duo's characteristic sound and showcase creative arrangements for piano and violin.


The Duo has performed at prestigious universities around the US and China, including a performance at Shanghai Conservatory that was simultaneously broadcast on the Conservatory's Weekly Radio Concert. Both members are also passionate about music education and have earned doctorate degrees from the University of Southern California, teach lessons to numerous students, and provide masterclasses.  


Apollo Duo is currently working on an EP to be released in the beginning of 2021. Follow them on social media to stay up-to-date with their future releases and concerts.

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Joel Clifft

As a collaborative pianist, Joel Clifft has had the pleasure of performing with many world-class musicians, including Midori (violin), Ma Xiao Hui (erhu), and Ken Grant (clarinet). He has extensive international performance experience, touring throughout Germany, Switzerland, Austria, England, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Korea, China, and Singapore. In addition, he has performed by invitation at the United Nations headquarters in New York, both as a collaborative pianist and as a soloist. He has performed on many prestigious stages, including Disney Hall, Beijing Central Conservatory, and The Hollywood Bowl.


Dr. Clifft is honored to serve as Director of Keyboard Studies at Azusa Pacific University, where he teaches piano, music theory, accompanying, and ear training courses. A highly respected pedagogue, he frequently serves as a judge for competitions, including MTAC, MTNA, Classical Masters Music Festival, Montecito, regional, state, and international competitions. In 2010, Dr. Clifft created Music Theory Pro, an iPhone app for music education. MTP teaches music theory and ear training using cutting-edge mobile technology. To date, the app has received over 160,000 downloads from all over the world.

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Alex Russell

An avid performer of both chamber and solo music, Alex Russell has given chamber music recitals in a dozen countries across four continents and has soloed with orchestras in Sweden, Lithuania, Ukraine, Armenia, South Korea, Canada, and throughout the U.S. He has performed on numerous occasions on local, national, and international radio and television broadcasts, and, as a recording artist, has produced six full-length albums, selling over fifteen thousand copies to date. He is very committed to teaching and is the Assistant Professor at the College of Music and the Arts at Azusa Pacific University. Russell has also given masterclasses around the world at music schools and conservatories. 

Russell holds a Bachelor's degree from APU, a Master's from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California, all in violin performance. He performs on an 1865 Auguste Sebastien Philippe Bernardel violin.