​From: GOUCHER COLLEGE MAGAZINE, Summer 2016, page 32 ff.

Q&A: Dr. Elizabeth Rhudy Austin ’60
Composer and teacher of piano and music theory and the 1998 winner of the first prize in the International Alliance for Women in Music’s Miriam Gideon Competition

Briefly describe your career (what you do, where you do it, why you do it).
I really don’t use the word ‘career’ because it implies a constant ascent, seeming related only to the working portions of life. I would rather use the word “calling” or “vocation”—these words fit what I do, which is write music. And I usually write my scores here in the music room at home. This is my retreat, and my muse is a pet canary.  I also teach piano and music theory.

I write music—I started when I was 7: a lullaby for my newborn brother. I would think that painters see visual images in their minds; composers hear aural patterns. We seem subject to unrelenting centering, a drive, a focus. Sometimes I feel I should be doing something practical and useful, like being a nurse/caretaker instead of composing, but then I realize that the arts humanize us during our time on Earth, against so many dehumanizing forces.

​What has been your biggest personal accomplishment?
I can’t really pin down one particular accomplishment, but I hope that I have been leavening for the bread of learning! I have taught music theory to hundreds of students at the pre-college level. It is vital for younger students to receive a good foundation in music theory. I also was very happy recently to spend time as the composer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The residency is sponsored by BMI (Broadway Music, Inc.), and I was very impressed with the student composers with whom I worked.

I hope a ‘big personal accomplishment’ lies ahead: My husband, Gerhard, and I have written a full-length opera. Gerhard adapted the libretto from a novella by Heinrich von Kleist. The story is The Marquise of O.  We have a German and English version.

​What has been your biggest personal accomplishment?
That’s a tough one. But I feel very happy and honored that we have seen our children through both happy and sad times. (I have three adult children and one stepson.)

How did Goucher prepare you for your career?
There are so many ways that Goucher has stayed with me. I always knew that I would write music, and, as a teenager, I knew that I would need a very broad liberal arts background to be a composer.

I had great mentors at Goucher. I feel very strongly that one of the goals at Goucher was to make me—and all the students—aware of and receptive to developing our own gifts…to tune my own instrument, as it were. In hindsight, Goucher really taught me to focus on finding my own rhythm, and to trust it.

​What is your most vivid Goucher memory?
Goucher had (and continues to have) a wonderful music faculty. When I was a junior, Elliott W. Galkin, who was the chair of Goucher’s music department [as well as music critic for The Baltimore Sun and director of the Peabody Institute], brought Mademoiselle Nadia Boulanger [an internationally renowned French composer, conductor, and teacher] to campus.

That evening in 1958, we sat in an audience listening to Mademoiselle Boulanger speak. Then, since she had heard one of the song cycles that I had written, Mademoiselle Boulanger offered scholarships to me and to Ruth Aiken Inglefield, a harpist, to study at the Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau, France, that year. We left to study at Fountainebleau in mid-May, and we studied there for four or five months. We came back unwillingly, but we had to return for our senior years!

Another vivid memory involves Professor Ernst Feise, who was a well-known scholar in German.  I minored in German, and I took his course in Goethe’s Faust.That year, Dr.Feise broke his leg, and he was in traction and had to stay in bed. For the whole semester, the entire class went to his home, gathered around his bed, and read Faust. This was a memorable experience!

During my junior year, my father died. Goucher was magnificent—the college sponsored me in my senior year. So I have much to thank Goucher for.

To learn more about Elizabeth Rhudy Austin ’60 or to hear her music, visithttp://elizabethaustinmusic.com.


​The music of Elizabeth R. Austin will be performed in several spring concerts  in Connecticut.

  1. Sunday, March 13, 2 p.m.: The Hartford Women Composers Festival concert, including Austin’s Sonnets From the Portuguese, will be held at St. Patrick/St. Anthony Church, downtown Hartford. Amanda Kohl, soprano and Miguel Campinho, piano will perform. A reception will follow.
  2. Thursday, April 7, 10 a.m.: The Musical Club of Hartford, on the occasion of their 125thanniversary, will present an all-Austin Portrait Concert, including the commissioned premiere of A Road Not Taken (Frost) for Chorus & Piano, conducted by Mattie Banzhaf. Other performers are Christopher Grundy, Miriam Kennedy, Deborah Robin, Carolyn Woodard and the composer. The concert will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in West Hartford.
  3. Sunday, May 1, 5 p.m.: Connecticut Composers Inc. concert, including Austin’s Sonata forSoprano Recorder, will be held at Wilton Library, Wilton. Deborah Robin, recorder, will perform.

More information is available from Elizabeth (ginkgi1@gmail.com).


​NEW CD release!

A Navona Records CD with ROSE SONATA for piano and reciter (SPECTRA: CT Composers) has been released, Jerome Reed, pianist, composer, reciter. 

Michael K. Slayton
Ken Steen Stephen
Michael Gryc
Ryan Jesperson
Margaret Collins Stoop
Elizabeth R. Austin
Classical NV5964
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Evan Mack, piano; Avery Ensemble | Annie Trépanier, violin; Hans Twitchell, cello; Adriana Jarvis, piano; Gróa Margrét Valdimarsdóttir, violin; Ryan Ford, contrabass; Allen Brings, piano; Jerome Reed, piano; Elizabeth R. Austin, reciter

Continuing the mission of the original Capstone Records series by the Connecticut Composers, Inc., this debut Navona Records release of the same name, SPECTRA, highlights six contemporary composers from northeastern United States, who reflect the diversity and progression of today's music.

The album showcases pieces by composers of Connecticut Composers, Inc.: Droyßiger Wald, by Michael K. Slayton, represents a life of simplicity in a small town outside of Leipzig, Germany. Ken Steen's piece for piano trio, re: Moon in the Afternoon, is a musical responsorial to a single chapter in Italo Calvino's novel Mr. Palomar. Stephen Michael Gryc's elegy for his father, deep-diving loon, takes its name from dervish Yunus Emre, who says a deep-diving loon "represents that individual who is willing to completely immerse himself in the mysteries of life and be transformed." The fast and aggressive piece BA(da)SS by Ryan Jesperson was written for bassist Ryan Ford and is an exercise in using techniques of repetition and double natural harmonics. A suite of five movements, Time Pieces by Margaret Collins Stoop explores various applications and portrayals of the word 'time' Rose Sonata by Elizabeth R. Austin explores imagery of the rose, quoting a theme from Brahms' Intermezzo No. 2 as well as poetry from Rilke, William Carlos Williams, and Goethe.

​Visit the SPECTRA web application to access the digital booklet, extended liner notes, and more.

Saturday, June 28 3-5 p.m.  Steinway Hall, New York:
109 W. 57th  New York, NY 10019   
Music for Piano and other ensembles: 
Elizabeth R. Austin,  AMERICAN TRIPTYCH for piano
Jerome Reed, piano
(free admission)


On the occasion of her 75th birthday, Elizabeth’s music has been recognized through a story in the current issue of the Journal of the International Alliance of Women in Music (Fall, 2013).

The article by Deborah Hayes, a distinguished musicologist and professor emerita at The University of Colorado at Boulder, is a discussion and analysis of her opera, “I’m one and double too”.

Jeffrey James, an art consultant, describes this magazine: “The Journal of the IAWM is published twice a year and is read world-wide. It includes articles about women musicians, both contemporary and historic, interviews, reports on major conferences, congresses, and festivals, information on current research, IAWM news and members’ news, and reviews of books, concerts, CDs, and scores.”

Germany: Renate Kaschmieder, mezzo-soprano, and Florian Kaplick, piano,have presented Frauenliebe und -leben, both the Austin and the Schumann versions, in an original dramatization/collage. On September 7 and 8, this duo performed the music in Bremen. On October 19, two days after Ingeborg Bachmann's 40th anniversary of death, the performance of the music and its relation to Bachmann's Malina was also discussed in a lecture by Sigrid Nieberle in Nurnberg.

Elizabeth R. Austin's Rose Sonata for piano and reciter will be featured in: 
Kathleen Dale, Piano Recital
Sunday, June 16 at 2 pm;
admission is free, with optional donation for additional library books on women composers
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music
1584 N. Prospect Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202 (414) 276-5760

May 26, Circling for ‘cello & piano: Connecticut Composers Inc. Concert; 016 Ensemble of Hartford at The Hartt School of Music

​Erica Maas, soprano, recent graduate of The Hartt School of Music (Hartford) has sung Three Sandburg Songs for soprano & piano on several concerts in the Hartford area:
April 14, at The Hartt School (her Senior Recital)
March 7, 2013 at The Musical Club of Hartford
March 2, 2013 through the Women Composers Festival of Hartford
February 16, B-A-C-Homage for viola & piano, performed by Laura Krentzman and Erberk Eryilmaz; at The Society of Composers National Conference, Columbus, Ohio
September 8, 2012 at Christ Church Cathedral (through Hartt)

Calendar of Events - Page Two

Connectiut Composers, Inc., in participation with the American Composers Forum and other organizations across the country, will be hosting a "Composers Night Out" concert of CCI member works on May 14th, 2015. The concert will take place at the Universalist Church, 433 Fern Street, West Hartford, CT (7:30).

Elizabeth’s song cycle, LITHUANIAN LIEDER (1995, rev. 2015), to poems of Johannes Bobrowski (translated from the German) will be sung by Christopher Grundy, baritone, composer at the piano.

Elizabeth R. Austin


Sunday, May 27:
at The Hartt School, Hartford, CT
Elizabeth's "B-A-C-Homage" for viola and piano was premiered by the Hartford-based new music ensemble 016 as part of a concert of chamber music by Connecticut Composers, Inc. Laura Krentzmann was the violist, Anastasia Seifetnova, the pianist.

Sunday, May 13:
Elizabeth's "Mass of Thanksgiving" ('We Gather Together') for SATB chorus, organ, and optional instruments, was performed in a Mother's Day/Women's Mass at St. John's Episcopal Church in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, Cryder Banks, Organist.


October 20-23 2015

Elizabeth is BMI/Vanderbilt University Composer-in-Residence: Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt U., Nashville, TN; on October 22, there will be a concert of her music, including the final scene from her opera, "I am one and double too"

Capping off a week long residency at Blair, a combination of student, faculty and guest artists will perform a selection of her works, including: Wachet Auf…Der Morgenstern (Jack Coen, organ), A Falcon Fantasy (Joshua McGuire, guitar, Jennifer McGuire, piano), Rose Sonata (Jerome Reed, piano), and the aforementioned Scene 12 from the opera dass ich eins und doppelt bin (Amy Jarman, soprano, Mark Whatley, baritone).

CT Composers, Inc. / American Composers Forum "Composers Night Out"