- Oboe/English Horn
First year with SO: 2000
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Instrument: When asked about the English horn, Michael said, "English horn is a soulful instrument that is often used by composers when they want to invoke the highest level of emotional intimacy. It is mainly used in scores when there is a need to show love, nostalgia, or tragedy."
Bachelor of Music – The Juilliard School
Michael Austin is sought after worldwide for his English horn and oboe expertise; this year Michael has performed internationally on five continents. In addition to his performances in Sarasota, Michael is the principal oboist of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, a position he has held since 2006. Michael has played both Cor Anglais and Principal Oboe with numerous major ensembles along the eastern seaboard of the United States, including the Florida Orchestra and the New World Symphony, among many others. He has also performed regularly as a chamber musician in New York City and the New England area. Michael is the co-founder and artistic director of the critically acclaimed Sky Meadow Chamber Players based in Vermont.
He graduated from the Juilliard School as an Elaine Lambert Prize recipient, having studied with John Ferrillo and Thomas Stacy. Other major teachers include Robert Atherholt, Elizabeth Camus, and John Mack. Before attending Juilliard, he was a National Merit Scholar pursuing medicine at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
When not making reeds, Michael is an amateur poker player and avid bodybuilder. He also enjoys the practice of shinrin-yoku ("taking in the forest").
Michael's favorite musical memory is performing Swan of Tuonela as solo English horn with the New York Philharmonic.