The American composer, Elizabeth R. Austin, received her early musical training at the Peabody Conservatory Preparatory Department. When Nadia Boulanger visited Goucher College (Towson, MD), where Elizabeth Austin was a liberal arts music student, she awarded the composer a scholarship to study at the Conservatoire Americaine in Fontainebleau, France.
Elizabeth Austin has taught composition and theory at various music institutions in Hartford, Connecticut. Her association with the Hartt School (University of Hartford), where she earned a Master's in Music while on the faculty, continues on an unofficial basis through a faculty/student exchange with the Staatliche Hochschule far Musik Heidelberg-Mannheim, which she helped to initiate in 1990.
While studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, Elizabeth Austin won First Prize in the David Lipscomb Electronic Music Competition for her Klavier Double for piano and tape (1983). In 1996, she received a Connecticut Commission on the Arts award to write a ballet-oratorio. International recognition has included her selection by GEDOK (Society of Women Artists in German-speaking countries) to represent the Mannheim-Ludwigshafen region in the national 70th-year anniversary exhibition (Spring, 1996) in Lübeck. Mannheim is her home for three months of every year, where she enjoys critical acclaim. In June, 1998, GEDOK sponsored a retrospective concert of Austin chamber music in Mannheim to critical acclaim. Other performances in 1998 occur in Finland, Italy, Germany, as well as in Virginia, Nebraska, and Connecticut.
Additionally, Elizabeth Austin has received recent recognition, firstly, through the selection of her cello octet, Water Music I. Beside still waters... to be performed in Fiuggi, Italy (September 1998), as part of the international Donna in Musica Festival, then through a First Prize in the 1998 IAWM's Miriam Gideon Composition Competition for her latest chamber work, A Hommage for Hildegard (von Bingen).
Being called upon to translate books and scholarly papers and to act as interpreter for Germanspeaking composers has brought Elizabeth Austin into contact with preeminent musicians both here and abroad. She and her husband, Gerhard Austin, bring German and American culture together; for instance, in 1997, there was a mutual international exchange between Connecticut Composers, Inc. and Brandenburg composers, supported by the Musikakademie Rheinsberg (Germany). When she is in Connecticut, Austin is organist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Windham Center.
Published by Arsis Press and Peter Tonger Verlag and recorded on the Capstone label, Elizabeth Austin is also represented on the 1994 Society of Composers CD and Journal. Her scores are also available through the American Composers Alliance.