Austin Stewart was appointed Artistic Director of Arbor Opera Theater in June 2018. His work with AOT is focused on creating uncommon encounters between audiences and lyric theater. From 2015-2017, he served as Audience Engagement Coordinator at Michigan Opera Theatre where he oversees community engagement programs for adult and college-aged audiences, Opera Clubs, the volunteer Ambassadors program, and consults on content and messaging to partner organizations throughout Metro Detroit.
A PhD candidate in Historical Musicology at the University of Michigan, Austin was the inaugural recipient of the Hans T. David Award, as well as recipient of awards for excellence in undergraduate instruction. He researches opera and civic identity in the American West during the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on the theatres, performances, and artists encountered by the citizens of Denver. His dissertation committee is chaired by Prof. Mark Clague. Through the UM EXCEL Program, Austin is also studying arts leadership with Ken Fischer, past president of the University Musical Society.
Austin received his Master of Music degree in opera conducting from the University of Texas at Austin and his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan where he was a student of George Shirley. Still active as a performer, Austin has focused his efforts on church and choral music, with an emphasis on Renaissance repertoire and the music of J.S. Bach. He performs regularly with the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart and soundinglight.