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Richard Austin (1943-2011) : Associate Artist

Austin believes music is the greatest of the arts and that the expressive possibilities can, given the right circumstance, touch the deepest levels of our being.

Random Audio Sample: Maryborough by Richard Austin, from the CD Classics of Australian music.

Photo of Richard Austin

Richard Austin was born in 1943 and attended Lindfield Public School. The family moved to the UK in 1954 and his schooling continued there. Austin became actively interested in music in 1959, and studied at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and then the Royal College of Music (1964-68). He studied composition with Herbert Howells, theory with Frank Howes, musicology with Prof. Thurston Dart and attended master-classes by Nadia Boulanger. Richard Austin won the Cobbett Composition Prize in 1967, and also organised (in conjunction with students from other colleges) two student festivals of performing art in 1967 and 1968 (entitled Reaction), which featured compositions of and performances by David Fanshawe and Michael Finnissy among others.

Several of Richard Austin's pieces were performed on the London concert stages; one on BBC Radio 3; and several appeared on LP records. There were two commissioned pieces for dance (by William Louther, funds from the Arts Council of Great Britain), Gilgamesh and Nijinsky. Recent works include Concerto for Flute (1992), written for the UK-based Australian flautist Judith Hall; Six Impromptus for piano (2001); and Symphony (1994). Three of Austin's Six Little Scenes for strings were performed during the 4MBS Festival of Classics 2004 and were broadcast by 4MBS-FM. Austin was also involved in an extended project with 4MBS, a vocal score reduction of Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony (by repute, the largest symphony ever composed).

After returning to Australia in 1993, Austin was Director of Sydney radio station 2MBS-FM for three years, and also worked as programmer, presenter and marketer. He continued broadcasting at 4MBS-FM since moving to Brisbane in 1999, and, since 2002, worked as a consultant with 4MBS Classic Management, also serving for a while as Editor of the 4MBS Program Guide and coordinating the 4MBS Summer School.

Recordings of several of Austin's works are available on the Jade CD label (see the Australian Music Centre's catalogue for further details).

Richard Austin passed away in April 2011.

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Six little scenes : string orchestra (2004) Commissioned by Gary Thorpe, for 4MBS Festival of Classics