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Austin Zhang is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses videography,
photography, writing, improvisation, and composition to tell his truth to the
world. Fascinated with the music of Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, and John
Coltrane from a young age, Austin has been chasing this peak level of artistic excellence his whole life. Mentored by masters of music from George Garzone and Jaleel Shaw to Wynton Marsalis and Stefon Harris, Austin has had incredible examples to follow in terms of musical excellence, artistic authenticity and personal integrity. During his high school and collegiate career, Austin took his talents to Jazz at Lincoln Center, Newport Jazz Festival, Vail Jazz Festival, and Carnegie Hall and on stage with the likes of Terri Lyne Carrington, Wycliffe Gordon, Lynn Seaton, and Mino Cinelu.
While studying at the Manhattan School of Music, Austin watched from
the comfort of his practice room as 58 students were killed in school
shootings across the United States from 2017-2019. He decided to respond
in the only way he knew how and composed and recorded a 2 part suite
entitled, Guac. Dedicated to Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, a victim of the senseless
Parkland, Florida school shooting, the piece utilizes improvisation, poetry,
and rap to call for a unified America against gun violence in our schools.
Austin began to explore other avenues of artistry as he immersed himself
into art from many eras and disciplines. Works like Marvin Gaye’s “What’s
Going On”, Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica”, and Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of
One’s Own” shaped their times in profound ways and are the proverbial
shoulders of giants that Austin dedicates his life to standing upon.
Today, Austin maintains a YouTube channel, blogs, and performs
regularly with his two main projects, The Beehive Quartet and Honesty Band. Impassioned by both “art for arts sake” as well as art for the issues we face, Austin’s music, writing, and videos explore emotional beauty and intensity as well as criticisms of social injustice, animal exploitation, and environmental destruction.