Est. 2014 in Russell, Kansas



donate to the trudy opera fund

Read more about the project here.


  • 2 weekends

  • 2 commissioned visual art works

  • 3 commissioned musical works, all by women composers or composers of color

  • 4 concerts

  • 16 high school singers

  • 19 composers

  • 39 professional musicians

  • 68% of concert time devoted to music by women composers or composers of color

  • Over 4,200 virtual audience members

Watch all concerts for free




Each July, the Ad Astra Music Festival, founded by Russell native Alex Underwood, colors central Kansas with classical music by integrating emerging young artists, community members, and professional musicians. Audiences have come to expect fresh, new music alongside vibrant performances of history’s richest musical works of art. From opera and chamber music performances the Deines Cultural Center, to sunset services at the picturesque Basilica of St. Fidelis, to live jazz at Granny Mae’s barn, each season offers concerts for every Kansan to enjoy. Ad Astra prides itself on programming new music from a diverse set of composers, including commissions from 2018 Pulitzer Prize Finalist Michael Gilbertson and Moira Smiley, Matthew Aucoin, Mary Kouyoumdjian, and Kate Soper. We’re dedicated to making this festival of and for the people of Russell as we annually collaborate with local visual artists, poets, and musicians to design meaningful creative experiences.