Frederic Austin (1872-1952) was brought up in Birkenhead and became a composition teacher at the Liverpool College of Music where he met fellow composer, Cyril Scott. It was through Scott that he met many other major composers of his day, such as Balfour Gardiner, Percy Grainger, Bax, Delius, Vaughan Williams and Holst.
As a composer, Austin wrote many songs, instrumental and chamber music, incidental music, a concertino for piano and orchestra and film scores. His most important works are two overtures, ‘Richard II’ and ‘The Sea Venturers’, a symphonic poem ‘Isabella’, Symphonic Rhapsody: Spring and Palsgaard: Danish Sketches.
Austin was perhaps best known in his day as a professional singer and was particularly known for his performances of contemporary works such as Richard Strauss’s operas and Debussy’s Pelleas et Melisande. He also gave the first English performance of Delius’s ‘Sea Drift’.
In 1924 Austin was appointed Artistic Director of the British National Opera Company.