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Retired faculty member donates compositions to Music Library

Larry Austin, retired College of Music professor and famed composer, has donated his life's work to the college. Austin, who retired from UNT in 1996 after 18 years on the faculty, has been highly successful as a composer for traditional as well as experimental music genres. Compositions donated to UNT have been performed and recorded by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and the National Symphony orchestras, as well as many other major ensembles in North America and Europe.

"In addition to his significant contributions to music over the past half century, Larry Austin is also a proud North Texas alumnus and was an important member of the composition faculty for nearly two decades," said Joseph Klein, chair of composition studies. "For that reason, I think it is most fitting that our institution should be the caretaker of Larry's legacy. I had the privilege of working with Larry and I admired the fact that he remained so active as a composer following his retirement at age 65 – continuing to make ambitious contributions to the field over the past 20 years. In that regard, I consider him to be a model for other composers working in academia."

The donation includes more than a dozen boxes of materials – recordings, books, photos and videos related to Austin's compositions as well as manuscripts of his works – the music library hopes to have identified and organized by this fall.

"It is always an honor when a faculty member entrusts the stewardship of their life's work to the libraries," said Maristella Feustle, music special collections librarian. "Larry Austin's generous gift will support the educational goals of the Music Library and the College of Music, and provide opportunities for original research that are unique to UNT."

The library plans to digitize content and make it available online.

Also received as part of the collection were a variety of antique recording devices and signal processors, an old Silicon Graphics computer and microphones. Andrew May, director of UNT's Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, says these electronics will further strengthen the program Austin helped develop.

"Larry Austin's influence on UNT and CEMI was formative, including the center itself, the design of the theater and studios we use today, and a legacy of distinguished alumni, works of music and innovative performances," May said. "CEMI is grateful for a selection of equipment from Larry's studio, which will add to our collection of technologies used over the course of CEMI's history and some of which will be used in teaching – giving students a hands-on understanding of the history of electronic music technologies."

The College of Music plans on hosting a tribute concert in honor of Austin for his donation this fall.

About the UNT College of Music

The College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the world. Approximately 1,500 music students attend the college each year, participating in nearly 70 widely varied ensembles while engaged in specialized studies in performance, composition, conducting, jazz studies, music education, music history, music theory or ethnomusicology. Music students, alumni and faculty have made appearances on the world's finest stages, have produced numerous recordings with many receiving Grammy awards and nominations, and have written influential texts in a variety of areas in music scholarship. Distinguished University alumni can be found around the globe in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities, and schools.

Posted on: Mon 02 May 2016

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