IMG Artists is delighted to welcome baritone Justin Austin to its roster for general management. He will be represented by Executive Vice President and Global Head of Vocal Matthew Horner from the company’s New York Headquarters, in collaboration with Ken Benson Artists.
Praised in Opera News as “a gentle actor and elegant musician” and in The Wall Street Journal for his “mellifluous baritone,” baritone Justin Austin has been performing professionally since the age of four. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, to professional opera singer parents, Mr. 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, he was able to realize early on his love for music and performance.
He is a proud graduate of the Choir Academy of Harlem, LaGuardia Arts, Heidelberg Lied Akademie, and the Manhattan School of Music, having earned Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees. Among his accolades are awards from organizations such as The Recording Academy, NAACP, the George London Foundation, Opera Ebony, the Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Manhattan School of Music, NANM, the Choir Academy of Harlem, and LaGuardia Arts. He is under the tutelage and mentorship of Catherine Malfitano.
Justin said, “I’m deeply honored to have Matthew and Ken help me build my future. IMG has already played a major part in my development and I couldn’t be more grateful and energized for building with this team.”
Matthew said, “I am so excited to begin working with Justin Austin. He is an artist of unique dynamism and a true 21st century performer encompassing multiple genres. I look forward to a very bright future for him.”
During the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Austin makes his house debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Marcellus in the company premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet, while also covering the leading role of Charles Blow in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He joins Lyric Opera of Chicago covering the role of Riolobo in Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, stars as George Armstrong in Lynn Nottage’s and Ricky Ian Gordon’s Intimate Apparel at Lincoln Center, and joins Des Moines Metro Opera as Thomas McKeller in Damien Geter and Lila Palmer’s American Apollo. In addition, he returns to Carnegie Hall as the title role in Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Oratorio Society of New York, joins the New York Festival of Song for their debut concert at Little Island in New York City, joins the Cecilia Chorus at Carnegie Hall as the baritone soloist in Margaret Bonds’ Ballad of the Brown King, and presents a solo recital at the Park Avenue Armory with pianist Howard Watkins.
As a multifaceted musician, Mr. Austin performs a wide range of repertoire, from jazz, R&B, and musical theatre, to opera and oratorio. He 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, Kanye West, and jazz legends Reggie Workman, Hugh Masekela, and Wynton Marsalis.
Mr. Austin strongly believes in utilizing his artistry to benefit music programs, new music projects, and community services around the world. In order to accomplish this, he works with organizations such as MEND (Meeting Emergency Needs with Dignity), QSAC (Quality Services for the Autism Community), Holt International, 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 premieres by Wynton Marsalis, Avner Finberg, M. Roger Holland, Jack Perla, Peter Andreacchi, Damien Sneed, Odeline de la Martinez, and Ricky Ian Gordon.
Photo: Gillian Riesen