Justin Austin - Baritone


Justin Austin, Baritone https://www.justinaustin.org

Praised in Opera News  as “a gentle actor and elegant musician”, baritone Justin Austin has been performing professionally since age 4. Born in Stuttgart, Germany to professional opera singer parents, Austin began his singing career as a boy soprano performing at venues such as Teatro Real, Bregenzer Festspiele, Lincoln Center, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts .  While working with directors such as Götz Friedrich and Tazewell Thompson,  Austin was able to realize his love for music and performance early on.

For the 2019/20 season Austin will create the leading role of George in the world premiere of the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre  co-commission  of "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage and Ricky Ian Gordon directed by Bart Sher. Austin also joins the Metropolitan Opera  for their season opener covering the role of Jim in Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess". Austin makes his return to New York Festival of Song at the Kaufmann Music Center  as well as Bayerische Staatsoper  at the National Theatre Munich  as Bello in Puccini's "La Fanciulla del West". Austin will also make his debut at the Lincoln Center White Light Festival  as a soloist in Marsalis' "Abyssinian Mass" with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

For the 2018/19 season Austin made solo debuts with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Copland House, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera Saratoga,and made his return to Lincoln Center,Carnegie Hall, and New York Festival of Song.  Mr. Austin spent Summer 2018 as a Solo Artist at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis  featured in concert, recital, and on the mainstage singing the role of Cal  in Marc Blitzstein's "Regina" Directed by James Robinson and conducted by maestro Stephen Lord. Austin was recently featured as a solo artist on the commercial recording of Opera Theatre of St. Louis' “Shalimar the Clown” and Damien Sneed's “The Three Sides of Damien Sneed”. 

After receiving a Master’s degree in Music in 2017 Austin spent the 2017/18 season with Opera Theatre of St. Louis  as a Resident Artist and made solo debuts with Carnegie Hall , Kampnagel, Master Voices, the Glimmerglass Festival, and the Larimer Chorale.  Austin also made his return to New York Festival of Song,  John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Kaufman Music Center.  

As a master’s degree candidate at the Manhattan School of Music,  Austin made debuts in the 2016/17 season at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts  as a "Schwab Vocal Rising Star", New York Festival Of Song  in their  "Emerging Artist Series", Opera Theatre of Saint Louis  as a "Richard Gaddes Festival Artist", and the Heidelberger Früling International Music Festival . Mr. Austin was honored by the historic National Association of Negro Musicians Inc. and named the National Winner of their prestigious Vocal Performance Scholarship. Summer 2016, Mr. Austin created the role of Pyarelal Kaul  in the critically acclaimed world premiere of the opera "Shalimar The Clown" by Jack Perla and Rajiv Joseph at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. 

While a bachelor's degree candidate at the Manhattan School of Music ,  Austin made his professional debut with Landestheater Linz  as Jake in Gerwhin's "Porgy and Bess". He reprised this role at Grand Théâtre de Genève  during the 2015/16 season as well as created the role of The Chief  in the film adaptation of Odeline Martinez’s "Imoinda", directed by Hope Clark and produced by the National Opera Center of America.  Mr. Austin was featured at the Manhattan School of Music  performing the roles of Sabari  in Cavalli's "La Doriclea”, Dr.Malatesta  in Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" and as a soloist in Haydn's "Die Schöpfung", Monteverdi's "Vespers", Mendelssohn’s “Elijah”, and Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requem”. Additionally  Justin has performed the roles of Giuseppe  in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Gondoliers”, Harlequin  in R. Strauss' "Ariade auf Naxos", Elviro  in Handel's "Xerxes", Etienne  in Victor Herbert’s “Naughty Marietta”, and as the baritone soloist in Schubert’s “Mass No.2”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Theodore Dubois’ “Seven Last Words of Christ”,  and Bach's "Matthäuspassion". 

As a multifaceted musician, Mr. Austin performs a wide range of repertoire from Jazz, R&B, and Musical Theatre, to Opera and Oratorio. Justin has collaborated with multiple groups and artists such as Aretha Franklin, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Mary J. Blidge, Elton John, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, 30 Seconds to Mars, John Cale, Ricky Ian Gordon, Damien Sneed, and jazz legends Reggie Workman, Hugh Masekela, and Wynton Marsalis. 

​Justin strongly believes in utilizing his artistry to benefit music programs, new music projects, and community services around the world.  To do so, he works with organizations such as MEND   (Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity) , QSAC  (Quality Services for the Autism Community, and St. Mary's Children's Hospital  to construct and perform benefit concerts. The proceeds of these projects supply emergent living essentials to those in need. Inspired by the importance of new music and collaboration, Mr. Austin has performed and recorded operatic, song, and oratorio world premiers by Wynton Marsalis, Avner Finberg, M. Roger Holland, Jack Perla, Peter Andreacchi, Damien Sneed, Odeline de la Martinez, and Ricky Ian Gordon. 

Austin has won awards from organizations such as The Recording Academy, NAACP, George London Foundation, Opera Ebony, Gerda Lissner Foundation, Manhattan School of Music, and NANM.

Justin is a proud graduate of the Choir Academy of Harlem, Laguardia Arts, Heidelberg Lied Akademie, and Manhattan School of Music  holding a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Master of Music Degree. Mr. Austin is under the tutelage and mentorship of Catherine Malfitano.

Opera Repertoire

Composer Opera Role
Blitzstein Regina Cal
*Debussy Pelleas et Melisande Pelleas
Donizetti Don Pasquale Dr. Malatesta
Gershwin Porgy and Bess Jake
Handel Xerxes Elviro
Mozart Don Giovanni Don Giovanni/Masetto
Mozart Die Zauberfloete Papageno
Perla Shalimar the Clown Payraleyl
Puccini La Fanciulla del West Bello
*J. Strauss Die Fledermaus Eisenstein/Falke
R. Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos Harlequin
*Suggested repertoire

Press Acclaim

“Justin Austin deployed his honeyed baritone with relaxed intensity in “Beale St. Blues”

Austin was utterly endearing in the old-fashioned, lushly romantic “The Hesitating Blues”

The most perfect pairing of the evening was Austin’s duet with mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, the raunchily honest “Buddy Bolden’s Blues” by Handy’s nemesis Jelly Roll Morton. The song creates a vivid sense of the unmistakable pong of drunken, unwashed bodies in a crowded bar, and Austin and Bradford dug into the earthy lyrics without overdoing it.”

Joanne Sydney Lessner, Opera News

Justin Austin’s polished baritone contributed much pleasure as Boonyi’s conflicted father Pyarelal Kaul.”

James Sohre (Opera Today)

“The purity of tone in Justin Austin’s vocalism as Jake deserves special mention—who knew “Oh, a woman is a sometime thing” is a “lullaby”?”

Richard Carter (Blasting News)

“A Woman is a Sometime Thing” sung by Clara’s husband Jake played by Justin Austin was expertly sung and performed”

Operatoonity

“Baritone Justin Austin, a gentle actor and elegant musician, made a strong impression as Sabari, who also falls in love with Doriclea. His quiet confidence made him sympathetic even as he betrayed his queen and stood smoldering off to the side.”

Opera News

Media

"Decidi il mio Destin" from Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, Role- Silvio

"Lieben, Hassen, Hoffen, Zagen" from R. Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, Role- Harlequin

Heidelberger Fruling Festival "Minstrel Man" by Margaret Bonds.

Press Kit

Click on a file below to download.

Biography (.pdf)

Headshot (high-res)