When Elgar was leader of the Worcester Festival Choral Society's Band, J.W. Austin was his second, and Elgar on starting the Orchestral Society, entrusted the leadership to Austin, which led to a long and close association. When printer's proofs of Elgar's new works arrived they went through them together, Elgar playing on the piano and Austin on the violin to detect any errors. As a reward for the labour, Elgar always gave the printer's proof copies to Austin, and he eventually had a remarkable collection of all his works, including the Dream of Gerontius, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, The Kingdom, and his concertos and symphonies.
Three generations of Austin's directed the orchestra of the Theatre Royal. The father of J.W did so for 35 years, and J.W joined the orchestra at the age of 12, and at once won the notice of touring conductors of opera companies. At one time the theatre orchestra might have been called the Austin band, for there were seven or eight members of the Austin family playing in it.