Hailed by NBC News as a guitarist who “…can make the guitar sing like it was invented to be in his hands,” native Oregonian Tye Austin made his Royal Albert Hall debut in London, England after winning first place in the 2016 Grand Prize Virtuoso International Music Competition. He also won first place at the 2013 American Protege International Music Competition at Carnegie Hall. He has performed with Grammy-winning musicians such as Sharon Isbin, Eliot Fisk, and Bela Fleck, and he’s been interviewed on National Public Radio. Psychology Today praised the way, “Tye Austin led us (the audience) into a musical embrace,” following his debut performance at the historical Boston Athenaeum. Tye Austin began his formal guitar studies at Southern Oregon University in 2008 and he completed his Master of Music degree at the world renowned New England Conservatory in 2016.
“I chose to play guitar because it’s one of the only instruments held directly next to your heart and you can actually feel the guitar’s body resonate against your own while playing. This allows for an intimate connection with the instrument,” Tye explains. “I’m also continually amazed by the polyphonic capabilities of the guitar. Between the 4-6 part harmonies, counterpoint, techniques, dynamics, and a myriad of colours, the guitar is like a miniature orchestra and I am the conductor.”
As an accomplished composer/arranger with over fifty original works and several commissions to his name, Tye is dedicated to expanding the classical guitar repertoire. In addition to his solo guitar works, he has composed and premiered many chamber works for guitar including his first symphony (guitar parts), three guitar concertinos, three chorales with guitar accompaniment, and various other chamber works for guitar and string quartet, flute, clarinet, and/or voice. The 2016-17 concert season will see the premiere of new chamber music Tye composed for the Boston Guitar Orchestra and his newly-formed Back Bay String Quartet.
Thanks to a generous patronage and private scholarship, Tye graduated from New England Conservatory with his Master of Music degree, summa cum laude, in classical guitar performance under the tutelage of legendary maestro Eliot Fisk (the last student of Andres Segovia). Tye also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in classical guitar performance and music composition from the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University, where he began his formal guitar studies with David Rogers and James Edwards in 2008.
In addition to maintaining his active performance schedule, Tye teaches guitar lessons for a local non-profit called Kithara Project, which provides guitar pedagogy to Boston’s low-income youth, as his way of “giving back” to the community. Tye is currently recording his debut album The Art of Guitar, which is scheduled to be released this Summer, 2017. He plays a customized 2015 Steve Connor Guitar from Cape Cod, MA.