Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
- MM, Western Michigan University
- BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Austin McWilliams, conductor and countertenor, is a part-time instructor at Western Michigan University, where he conducts the university operas and choral ensembles and teaches several courses. Austin strives to present compelling, intriguing music that is directly relevant to the communities in which it is performed. He is the Assistant Conductor and Director of Music Education at Opera Grand Rapids, where he acts as both chorusmaster and head of the Opera Unlimited series dedicated to contemporary opera and marginalized communities.
Austin is Co-Artistic Director of the Ad Astra Music Festival, a classical music festival in Russell, Kansas, known for its innovative and unique programming. In 2021 he will conduct the world premiere of an opera by Anna Pidgorna about local art teacher Trudy Furney. He is a faculty member at Missouri Scholars Academy, an annual, month-long governor’s school for gifted high school juniors. Additionally, Austin is the Sanctuary Choir Director at Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Haven.
In 2019, Austin earned a Master of Music degree in choral conducting at WMU under Kimberly Dunn Adams. While at WMU, he designed a recital on HIV/AIDS awareness in collaboration with several community organizations, and he earned the School of Music Graduate Award for Excellence in Teaching. Austin graduated in 2017 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering with highest honors. He received his formative training from Rachael Bonk in his native Poplar Bluff, Missouri.