Fussell's works include five symphonies; Wilde, a symphony for baritone and orchestra, was runner-up for the 1991 Pulitzer Prize. His music is programmed frequently by Boston ensembles, in particular Collage New Music, The Cantata Singers, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Fussell attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he worked with Thomas Canning and Bernard Rogers, and studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, working with Boris Blacher. While in Germany, he also attended the Bayreuth Master classes of Frideland Wagner. He later was assistant to and close friend of composer Virgil Thomson. He has received a citation and award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, grants from the Ford Foundation and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and a Fulbright Fellowship. Fussell's discography includes Specimen Days and Being Music, two commissions for the 1992 Walt Whitman Centennial (Koch Records), Symphony No. 5, The Astronaut's Tale, and Right River, Concerto for Cello solo and String Orchestra (Albany Records). Fussell has served on the faculty of Boston University and Rutgers University, and is active as vice president of the Virgil Thomson Foundation.