Christopher Austin

b. 1968

British

Summary

Christopher Austin is an acclaimed conductor of contemporary music and a Tony® Award-winning orchestrator, in demand for his dazzling scores for stage and screen right across the world. As an orchestrator, Austin’s work includes the Tony® and Drama Desk Award-winning score for An American in Paris, orchestrations for Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, and Christopher Wheeldon and Joby Talbot’s critically acclaimed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at The Royal Ballet. He contributed orchestrations for Mark-Anthony Turnage’s score for Strapless (2017), orchestrated Frank Moon’s music for The Wind by Arthur Pita, and produced new chamber orchestral versions of Zemlinsky’s Six Songs after Poems by Maeterlinck. Future projects include a new score commissioned by Houston Ballet and choreographer Arthur Pita.

As a conductor, Christopher has worked extensively across Europe with orchestras including the Philharmonia, the Hallé, Orchestre National de Lille, Opera de Rouen, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony, Århus Sinfonietta, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, and the New Music Orchestra (Katowice) to name just a few. He has been a tireless champion for new music, giving world and regional premieres of over 200 works by composers including Hans Abrahamsen, Malcolm Arnold, Diana Burrell, Peter Maxwell Davies, Tansy Davies, Pelle Gudmundsen Holmgreen, Per Nørgård, Morten Olsen, Olga Neuwirth, Joby Talbot, and Li Ying Wu. Austin is also Professor of Composition, Orchestration and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

Biography

Christopher Austin is an acclaimed conductor of contemporary music and a Tony® Award-winning orchestrator, in demand for his dazzling scores for stage and screen right across the world.

As an orchestrator, Austin’s work includes the Tony® and Drama Desk Award-winning score for An American in Paris which debuted on Broadway in 2015, was staged in the West End in 2017, and then toured the US, Japan and China. His orchestrations for Wayne McGregor’s Chroma and Christopher Wheeldon and Joby Talbot’s critically acclaimed Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at The Royal Ballet have been equally acclaimed. Since its premiere in 2011, Alice has become a modern classic of the ballet repertory. Having toured North America with the National Ballet of Canada, it has also been taken up by companies in Copenhagen, Stockholm and Munich as well as by the Australian National Ballet. It returns to Covent Garden for the fifth time in September 2020.

Other recent projects include orchestrations for Mark-Anthony Turnage’s score for Strapless (2017), Frank Moon’s music for The Wind by Arthur Pita, and new chamber orchestral versions of Zemlinsky’s Six Songs after Poems by Maeterlinck.

As a conductor, Christopher has worked extensively across Europe with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lille, Opera de Rouen, Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony, Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen, Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Århus Sinfonietta, and Poland’s New Music Orchestra. He has been a tireless champion for new music, giving premieres of over 140 works by composers including Hans Abrahamsen, John Adams, Malcolm Arnold, Tansy Davies, Peter Maxwell Davies, Georg Friedrich Haas, Olivier Messiaen, Per Nørgård, Bent Sørensen and Steve Reich.

Austin studied at Bristol University and later at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he read composition with Simon Bainbridge and Robert Saxton. He is himself a Professor of Composition, Orchestration and Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. In 2009, his work with music critic Paul Morley was the subject of a two-part BBC documentary called ‘How to Be a Composer’. He is an authority on the music of Peter Maxwell Davies, Malcolm Arnold and Alfredo Casella. Austin is set to orchestrate Casella’s La sera fiesolana as one of his next projects.

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