photo of Carl holding his viola

Carl Austin’s music education began at Chetham’s School of Music when, aged ten, he became a chorister. This was followed by three years in Junior Royal Northern College of Music, where he won the Vicci Wardman Prize, before returning to Chetham’s for his two Senior School years as a viola student with Graham Oppenheimer. As a teenager, Carl completed ABRSM Diplomas in viola and piano and his Grade 8 Singing, with distinction.

Carl was a scholarship student of the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) completed his studies on viola with James Sleigh.   Carl is also an accomplished pianist, having studied with Jonathan Middleton and Daniel-Ben Pienaar and attaining his ABRSM Diploma.

Carl began his four-year membership of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (NYO) within five years of his first viola lesson. His extensive early orchestral experience was made possible by part-time school attendance during the years when he was not a student of Chetham’s and this has been extensively broadened by regular training during his four years at the Royal Academy of Music. As well as the NYO, Carl has performed regularly with the following orchestras or ensembles: :

    • Royal Academy Symphony Orchestra
    • Academy Bach Cantatas Orchestra
    • The Academy Baroque Consort
    • Royal Academy Opera Orchestras
    • Academy Chamber Orchestra
    • Royal Academy of Music String Orchestra

Other Orchestras 2010 -17

  • Ignition String Ensemble, Brighter Sound
  • Burnley Light Operatic Society
  • Parade,  Manchester Orchestra (2016)
  • American Idiot, Blackburn Orchestra (2016)
  • Southern Pro Musica
  • Heart of England Chamber Orchestra
  • Forest Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Lewisham Choral Society
  • The Cavendish Ensemble
  • Bradfield College
  • Ensemble Orquesta
  • The Arch Sinfonia
  • Serafine Sinfonia *
  • Derby Choral Union
  • Canterbury Choral Society
  • Commonwealth Camerata *
  • Redhill Sinfonia
  • Praise Factory – Chapel of Life
  • Hillsong London Orchestra
  • Peterborough Note Take
  • Les Fauristes Orchestra
  • Melos Sinfonia
  • Ensemble 111
  • Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra
  • CLIC Sargent Symphony Orchestra
  • The Rosemary Consort
  • Cultura Chamber Ensemble
  • Audeat Camerata
  • Paradisal Players
  • Armonia Chamber Orchestra
  • North London Philharmonia
  • Harrow Symphony Orchestra
  • Two Moors Festival Orchestra
  • Student Arts Orchestra

In addition to National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, before 2010:

  • Chetham’s School of Music Symphony Orchestra, 2 years (one as Principal viola)
  • Chetham’s Baroque Ensemble, 2 years
  • Capriccio String Ensemble, 3 years (playing with William Byrd Singers, 2 as Principal viola)
  • Lancashire Youth Orchestras – 4 years
  • Junior Royal Northern College of Music – 3 years
  • Bolton Youth Orchestra, 4 years (2 as Principal)
  • New Century Strings, 3 years
  • Stockport Youth Orchestra, 1 year

Carl has performed a vast array of orchestral repertoire, in a wide variety of major British venues. He has performed under the baton, or leadership, of many world-renowned conductors; and with many of them more than once. These Conductors or Leaders include:

  • Pierre-Laurent Aimard
  • Marin Alsop
  • Paul Borough
  • Semyon Bychkov
  • Paul Daniel
  • Sir Colin Davies
  • Sir Mark Elder
  • Margaret Faultless
  • Jane Glover
  • Richard Hickox
  • Iain Ledingham
  • James MacMillian
  • Sir Neville Marriner
  • Antonio Pappano
  • Trevor Pinnock
  • Vasily Petrenko
  • Rachel Podger
  • Jeremy Summerly
  • Yan Pascal Tortelier
  • Stephen Wilkinson MBE

In addition to participation in Baroque ensembles, Carl studied Baroque viola for a year with Annette Isserlis; Performing Baroque Music on Modern Instruments with Jeremy Summerly, (also for a year); and has attended day workshops with Margaret Faultless and with Judy Tarling.

Carl’s solo viola and chamber music performances have been wide-ranging. His chamber music experience has been as a member of:

  • Northern String Quartet
  • The Endymion String Quartet
  • Echo Wants Her Voice Back
  • several other string quartets and quintets
  • several piano quartets/ quintets
  • three flute/viola/piano Trios
  • two mezzo-soprano/viola/piano Trios
  • a flute/viola/ guitar Trio
  • two flute/viola/piano Trios
  • an Oboe Quartet
  • a Clarinet Trio

Carl has enjoyed four summer schools with Lake District Summer Music Academy, the British Isles Music Festival, Cadenza Chamber Music Festival, a NYO summer Chamber Music Project, and three Grittlelton Chamber Music Courses.

Carl’s chamber music master classes were with Neil Heyde, Garth Knox, and Ian Fountain; and he has attended several String Quartet Study Days. His chamber music coaches have been Martin Outram, Garfield Jackson, James Sleigh, Michael Dussek, Nicholas Miller, Sarah Walker, and Cathy White. Solo and chamber music venues have included the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the RAM, the Southbank Centre, the Tate Gallery, and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London; Accrington Clef Club (with Martin Roscoe); Leigh Music Society; Albert, Festival and Victoria Halls in Bolton; and in various Manchester venues. He has received master classes with internationally acclaimed viola players includingHelen Callus, Hartmut Rhode, Garth Knox, Philip Dukes, Paul Silverthorne, Emmanuella Reiter-Bootiman, Roger Benedict, and Thomas Riebl.

In 2013, Carl won the Sir Arthur Bliss Prize, was commended in the Theodore Holland Viola Prize, and won the James Wright Award.

Carl plays a Michetschläger  viola thanks to generous contributions from Chetham’s Musical Instrument Fund, the EMI Sound Foundation, the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund and Music for Alice.

After completing Hons, Carl worked for a year in London performing in numerous live concerts and recordings; and teaching violin, viola, and piano for students aged from 5 to over 40 years. In July 2015, Carl moved to the North West of England, where he is enjoying a new chapter of his life performing and teaching throughout the United Kingdom.

For a short biography, see the Media pack.