A Trinity Opus: Two Decades of Teaching, Performing and Directing
The tulips were blooming on Trinity’s campus, but there was a snowstorm back home in Manitoba where Dr. Ken Austin, professor of music emeritus, was considering a teaching position at Trinity in 1991.
He discussed the possibility of taking the job with his wife Lynn, who had always supported him in his career as a professional trumpet player and conductor. Austin said he felt compelled at that time to follow God’s leading to teach and to also support his wife Lynn’s new writing career.
“I told her since she gave me the first 20 years, I would give her the next 20,” Austin said.
More than 20 years of teaching and directing later (and more than 20 novels for Lynn), Austin retired from his professorship at Trinity in May.
In addition to serving as a professor of music, Austin directed Trinity’s Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Brass Quintet. During his teaching career, he remained active as a symphonic musician and trumpet and cornet soloist, experience he brought into the classroom each day.
Austin has performed with the New Philharmonic Orchestra, the Southwest Symphony Orchestra, the Yankee Brass Band, and the Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band. He trained with some of the greatest brass players in the world, including Armando Ghitalla and Roger Voisin (Boston Symphony), Arno Lange (Berlin Opera), Robert Nagel (Yale), and Arnold Jacobs (Chicago Symphony).
Used to performing about 40 concerts each year at the College, nationally, and internationally, Austin stood before Trinity’s Wind Ensemble, baton in hand, for a farewell concert on May 3. A dozen alumni joined Trinity musicians in the performance. To honor Austin, student Alexander Salto ’15 and alumnus Marlin Exton ’07 composed and conducted a special song, which was performed as a surprise for their beloved music mentor.
Austin was also honored with emeritus status at Trinity’s Commencement ceremony on May 17.
Retirement for Austin is far from the stereotype. Following the end of the semester, the consummate musician and traveler began an itinerary that includes travels to Europe and Netherlands; 20 concerts between May and August with performances at the Masterworks Festival in Indiana, Colorado, and with alumnus Christian Lopez ’10; and time with his family.