Richard Austin (conductor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Richard Dennis Oliver Austin FRCM (1903–1989) was the chief conductor of the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra (now the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra) from 1934 until 1940 and later a Professor of the Royal College of Music.

Early life[edit]

The son of Frederic and Amy Austin, Austin was educated at Gresham's School, Holt, the Royal College of Music, and in Munich.[1] At Gresham's, he acted in school plays, in 1921 playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and in 1922 Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew, opposite W. H. Auden as Katherina.[2]


In 1929, he became Conductor with the Carl Rosa Opera Company, then from 1934 to 1940 was Musical Director of the Bournemouth Corporation, that is, he was the chief conductor of the Bournemouth Municipal Orchestra, which is now the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.[1] His predecessor there was Sir Dan Godfrey and his successor was Montague Birch. In 1935 he married the 'cellist Leily Howell.

During the Second World War he served as Music Advisor, Northern Command (1941–1945). Following the war, he became a Professor of the Royal College of Music, from 1946 to 1976, and was also the college's Director of Opera from 1955 to 1976, when he retired.[1]

Concurrently, Austin served as Music Director to the New Era Concert Society (1947–1957) and was a guest conductor at Sadler's Wells Theatre, with other London and provincial orchestras in the UK, and overseas in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, and also in South America.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d 'AUSTIN, Richard', in Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2007; online edition by Oxford University Press (subscription required) December 2007: AUSTIN, Richard, accessed 23 Aug 2008
  2. ^ The Times, 5 July 1922 (Issue 43075), p. 12, col. D