Andrew Russo is not your typical concert pianist or Grammy-nominated recording artist. He is also a certified financial planner and advisor and a former candidate for the New York state senate. Russo received both his bachelor's and master's of music degrees at Juilliard, and followed these with time in Leipzig and Paris, including studying with Frederic Chiu. He gained some notoriety when he performed George Crumb's A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979, during the first round of the 2001 Van Cliburn competition. It is believed to have been the first time a participant had played a piece that utilized the interior and body of the piano along with the keyboard. His collaborations and recordings bear out his affinity for new music. They feature works by Morton Gould, William Bolcom, Aaron Jay Kernis, and composers such as Marc Mellits and Derek Bermel, whose imaginative blending of various styles redefine concert music. Russo's inventive Mix Tape (2008) also puts a new perspective on pop music. It was Russo's recording of piano and chamber music by John Corigliano that was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. In 2013 he recorded Kernis' concerto Three Flavors and other works for Naxos. Outside of his musical activities, Russo had founded a music education nonprofit organization and was director of music at Le Moyne College between 2006 and 2010, and in 2009-2010 was a candidate for New York's state senate. It was around that time that he began to pursue a career in finance concurrent with his music performance. Russo, as a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, is also an advocate for families affected by developmental difficulties.