Photo by Amanda Trumbull
Hi. My name is Austin, I'd like to tell you about my musical upbringing:
I was fortunate to have multiple piano teachers, each with different areas of expertise. When I started playing piano lessons at the age of six, Tom Sivak gave me a solid foundation of the fundamentals, including classical and contemporary repertoire. At age 13 I began studying jazz piano with Jeremy Kahn, one of Chicago's finest Jazz pianists and classical piano with Mrs. Linda Camp at Elmhurst College. At age 16, I discovered my love for percussion and began taking drum lessons with Mr. Bob Rummage.
I was fortunate to have grown up in a household enveloped in music – as both of my parents are professional musicians! My father is a professional freelance trumpet player and producer in Chicago, and my mother is a music educator. My homeschooled upbringing and my family's background allowed me to become fully-enveloped in the city's music scene. I remember taking "field trips" to full-scale recording sessions featuring big bands, full string sections, and many other musical occasions. It was a great experience to observe my dad and other professional musicians in live television settings including WGN, Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey Show, and PBS specials with Faith Hill, Peter Cetera, and Burt Bacharach. Additionally, being raise as a home school student gave me the opportunity to sit in theatre orchestra pits on a regular basis with my dad. This allowed me to experience the commercial side of the music industry at a young age; a great privilege that not many have received.
During high school, I played drums in my church's youth band, which lead to the opportunity to play during regular weekend services . My homeschooled upbringing also allowed me the chance to participate in various ensembles at Elmhurst College during my junior and senior years; I was a piano accompanist for a vocal-jazz ensemble, played in the college's percussion ensemble, and played drums in jazz combos.
After graduating from high school, I attended College of Dupage for one year while continuing private music lessons. After that, I transferred to Columbia Chicago to finish my remaining three years of education, and graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Instrumental Performance.
During my college education I was blessed play music in various capacities, including weddings, Broadway In Chicago shows, church services, solo piano concerts, and subbing for various Chicago-based bands, jazz combos, and delving into Chicago's Neo-soul circuit! All of these experiences have shaped my musicality. I owe a tremendous amount of thanks and gratitude to my parents, who have always loved and supported me and my craft, and my instructors at Columbia College (notably Sebastian Huydts, Dennis Luxion, Bill Boris, and Tom Hipskind) and every other teacher and mentor who has poured into my life.
I currently reside in the Chicagoland area working as a freelance pianist and percussionist, when I'm not doing that, I do copy work (I'm skilled in Finale!) and music production for live performance.