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Austin Zhang is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses composition,
improvisation, videography, photography, and writing in his work. 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 artistic excellence 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, Mino Cinelu, and Lynn Seaton.
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.
Following this, 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, writings, and visual works explore aesthetic and artistic beauty as well as criticisms of social injustice, animal exploitation, and environmental destruction.