Austin Lee, 18  Founder, Classical Masters Music Festival

Austin Lee, 18

Founder, Classical Masters Music Festival

The Classical Masters Music Festival (CMMF) was founded in 2009 by Austin Lee, a freshman in high school at the time. Classical music had been a large part of Austin’s life growing up, and most of his learning and passion for the arts was fostered from his exposure to classical music. Austin felt there was a need to share and provide these experiences and opportunities to those who did not have the same type of access to the musical world he had. He wanted to create an event that would bring musical resources (world renowned artists, fellow aspiring musicians, performance opportunities, etc.) to one central place in the greater Sacramento region. Austin has set CMMF on a mission to inspire young children in music and performing arts by offering a unique and engaging event – the Classical Masters Music Festival.


The format of the “Classical Masters weekend” has been a private VIP fundraiser event, a festival competition for piano and strings during the day (open to students ages 4-18), followed by a gala benefit concert in the evening. The festival has also included master classes, judges forum and Q&A, and other opportunities for student participants to interact with professional musicians. Previous concert artists include Charles Rosen, Di Wu, Adrian Daurov, Franc D’Ambrosio, and Glory Crampton.


The Classical Masters Music Festival Board of Directors is joined by a junior board of local middle and high school students who are passionate about music and giving back to the community. This junior board uses the funds raised to give back to students and school music programs. The junior board advertises scholarship and grant applications, and determines winners, based on merit and need. To date, there have been 19 individual scholarship recipients, totaling over $17,000 and 7 school grants, totaling over $11,000. Previous grant recipients include SLI Music Academy, Del Oro High School, Bella Vista High School, El Camino High School, MVP Diamond Academy, and Olympus Junior High. These scholarships and grants have allowed students to purchase new instruments, take private lessons, enroll in master classes and workshops, and attend statewide competitions with classmates. Other CMMF outreach includes giving away complimentary tickets to local students (middle school through college), who would otherwise be unable to afford attending a gala concert event.


In the words of Austin, “Classical Masters Music Festival was not only created to give you the opportunity to refine your performance expertise, but also to help inspire individuals of all ages in the art of classical music.  The CMMF Board and Junior Board of Directors hopes to raise enough funds to assist other Sacramento area organizations focused on young performing artists, as well as future students and pursuers of music who have developed musical passions that will last for the rest of their lives.  Supporting young musicians with new and unique performance experiences expands opportunity for their success as productive, well-rounded citizens.  With your phenomenal musical passions and willingness to engage, I am comforted in knowing that this event will be life-changing to all who participate!”