Press

The Faust Chamber Orchestra played superbly, making the most of Bizet's colourful instrumentation - there was some particularly good horn playing. The whole was directed convincingly by Mark Austin

— Surrey Advertiser, October 2016

The music's charm and sincerity were evident in a performance lovingly assembled by young conductor Mark Austin

Richard Morrison, The Times

— The Times, March 2016

Austin introduced the piece from the podium and his affection for it was apparent in the eloquent intensity of his conducting

Tim Ashley, The Guardian

— The Guardian, March 2016

I was blown away - the sound Mark Austin gets from his musicians is wonderful

— Bucks Examiner, September 2015

Special mention must be made of the conductor Mark Austin who surely will have a brilliant career ahead of him. His conducting was simple and strong, without flamboyance, yet always sympathetic to the needs of the singers and score.

— Haslemere Herald, November 2014

[Rossini's Barber of Seville] was spunkily conducted by the unflappable Mark Austin

— Opera Now, November 2014

Scored for the full range of strings and brass, plus percussion, Rudland's music conjured up in vividly dramatic terms the dangers that confront Pincher Martin in his battle with the ocean. The conductor Mark Austin drew a committed response from the Faust Ensemble.

— Opera Magazine, October 2014

Chalk up one more British opera soaked in the wake of Peter Grimes [Oliver Rudland's Pincher Martin]. Sea sounds are everywhere: gulls crying, the waves' rolling thunder, growlings from the ocean floor. Britten's direct influence popped up occasionally, as did John Adams: friendly visitors in a tonality-washed score. In the pit, Mark Austin's Faust Ensemble incisively handled Rudland's individual scoring - string textures flecked with lone brass notes, percussion shivers and droplets of harp.

— The Times, August 2014

The last concert of Hertford Symphony Orchestra's season took them to Vienna. From the opening chords this was an Eroica symphony that had taut rhythmic control, with crafted and shaped melodic lines. The first movement built tremendous tension, whilst the second movement's funeral march had pathos and a disturbing sense of darkness. The scherzo had a 'leggiero' quality with all its rhythmic conundrums, and the joyous horns in the Trio were a 'tour de force'. The last movement's variations had a real clarity and balance as the opening theme was passed throughout the orchestra and the rousing coda brought the symphony and the orchestra's season to a triumphant finish. To be able to perform and communicate this difficult work to such a high standard brings credit to the orchestra, and especially to the conductor Mark Austin for his musical insight and expertise.

— Hertfordshire Mercury, June 2014

A cultured reading led by young conductor Mark Austin, with some particularly elegant woodwind and plenty of bounce all round. Lynn Binstock's witty cod-mediaeval staging never flagged in energy. ... John-Colyn Gyeantey is one of the few tenors in the UK who should even contemplate the virtuosic role of Ory and sang with proper Rossinian style and energy. Alexandra Hutton made a bright, sparky Adele, solid even in the madder coloratura. ... The Act III trio was slinky and seductive, somewhere between Mozart and Richard Strauss.

— Opera Now, April 2013

It was a treat to encounter this revival of Rossini's irresistible opera comique, a work remembered for superlative past productions at Glyndebourne and ENO, but Opera South's hilarious version will not soon be forgotten by audiences in Haslemere Hall. In felicitous partnership with the company's new music director Mark Austin, at the head of 21 members of his own Faust Ensemble, who played with distinction and polish, the experienced producer Lynn Binstock extracted every jot of rude and rollicking comedy out of Rossini's score, switching smoothly to capture the mood of lyricism governing the occasional romantic encounters that punctuate it. 

— Opera Magazine, April 2013

Rossini's final opera, Count Ory, was first performed in 1828. The work is a comic tale of seduction and disguise that is humorous and, at times, delightfully farcical. Some of the music is taken from Il viaggio a Reims written three years earlier, and contains some of Rossini most colourful orchestral writing. ... Mark Austin, the new, excellent Music Director of Opera South, conducted a stylish, buoyant performance of this enchanting work. ... Congratulations Opera South for treating us to an evening of very high standard music-making. It was a joy and a privilege to hear such an outstanding performance.

— Haslemere Herald, February 2013