Mark Austin performs regularly as a conductor and pianist at major venues in the UK and abroad. He is founder and artistic director of Faust Ensemble, a chamber orchestra of elite young professionals.
Recent engagements include his debut as a Young Associate Conductor with the Orchestra of St John’s, a full season of concerts with Faust Ensemble, recitals around the UK and France, and a tour to China as pianist with The Bach Choir. He conducted a fully-staged production of Verdi’s ‘La Traviata’ for Opera South’s 30th anniversary year, and gave the world première of Oliver Rudland’s ‘Pincher Martin’ at the Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music. At the BBC Proms he worked as assistant and offstage conductor for Marin Alsop for Mahler’s Symphony no. 1 and the UK première of John Adams’s Saxophone Concerto.
Mark has appeared in recital at venues including Wigmore Hall, St John’s, Smith Square, Kings Place, Holywell Music Room, Colston Hall, Champs Hill and the Opera Bastille, Paris. He regularly directs from the keyboard, and last summer led performances of Rossini’s ‘Il barbiere di Siviglia’ for Musique Cordiale International Festival, France. He returns in August 2015 to conduct Puccini’s ‘Tosca’.
An experienced coach, Mark has worked regularly at the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Italy (with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Thomas Allen), and has prepared singers for roles at companies including Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Garsington, Glyndebourne and Staatsoper, Berlin. He has worked as assistant conductor to Sir Mark Elder, Sir Colin Davis, Marin Alsop, Steuart Bedford, Jane Glover and Stephen Cleobury. Mark believes passionately in the value of bringing top professional musicians into communities and recently conducted a critically-acclaimed staging of Handel’s Messiah with Unexpected Opera, combining a professional cast of soloists with an amateur choral ensemble and a non-auditioned community choir. Mark is a Patron of Chiltern Music Academy, and works actively with the Academy to enable players of all abilities to come into contact with the young professionals of Faust Ensemble.
Born in London, Mark had lessons in violin and piano from an early age. He played in the National Youth Orchestra, and went on to study at Cambridge University, where he obtained a BA in French and German with distinction and an MPhil in European Literature and Culture. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Michael Dussek, and was awarded numerous prizes. He was appointed a Junior Fellow at RAM in 2012 and is now a member of staff.