Anthony Ramsden (Chair)
Opera South's Music Director
Mark Austin is a rising British conductor with a talent and passion for communication with audiences. He has developed a reputation for brilliant musicianship complemented by accessible spoken introductions to the music. He is founder and artistic director of Faust Chamber Orchestra and music director of Opera South.
In 2016 Faust Chamber Orchestra celebrates its 5th anniversary and makes its debuts under Mark’s baton at Kings Place, LSO St Luke’s, and West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge. The orchestra is recognised for its virtuosic performances and distinctive approach to concert presentation. Recent successes include collaborations with soloists Guy Johnston and James Baillieu, and a 4-star review from the Times. Besides formal concerts, Mark leads a successful education programme at a wide range of schools and in collaboration with Chickenshed Theatre and Chiltern Music Academy.
Mark’s other work includes a diverse range of activities. He has worked as assistant conductor for Marin Alsop, Steuart Bedford, David Hill and the late Sir Colin Davis, with orchestras including BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC Proms), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Hangzhou Philharmonic in China. Guest appearances include Orchestra of St John’s and Hertford Symphony Orchestra.
In opera, credits include Il barbiere di Siviglia (Musique Cordiale International Festival, France), Hansel and Gretel (Mercury Theatre, Colchester) and La Traviata for Opera South. He works regularly as an assistant conductor with The Bach Choir, for whom he accompanied a recent tour to China and conducted a BBC Radio broadcast.
As a collaborative pianist, Mark has appeared at venues including Kings Place, St John’s Smith Square, Leighton House (with Dame Felicity Lott), Holywell Music Room, Colston Hall, Champs Hill, Opera Bastille, Paris and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre. He regularly performs vocal recitals and has worked as repetiteur for companies including Glyndebourne Education, English Touring Opera, and Tête à Tête.
As an advocate for music education, 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 musicians of Faust Chamber Orchestra. He regularly delivers lectures at Cadogan Hall for Opera Prelude.
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, where he received numerous prizes and was appointed a Junior Fellow in 2012.