Ian Clarke (flautist)

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Ian Clarke
Ian Clarke in May 2010 at Kirk of the Canongate, Edinburgh
Background information
Born (1964-02-04) 4 February 1964 (age 50)
Broadstairs, Kent, UK
Instruments Flute

Ian Clarke (born 4 February 1964) is a British flautist and composer.

Performing history[edit]

Ian Clarke studied with Simon Hunt, Averil Williams and Kate Lukas at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and concurrently studied Mathematics at Imperial College, graduating with Honours.[1]

Since 2000 Clarke has been professor of flute at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has given master classes at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal Scottish Academy, the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Trinity College of Music and has regularly been invited to perform & lead workshops at numerous flute events and summer schools internationally. Along with Clare Southworth, Ian led the Woldingham International Summer School for many years; in 2013 he will again teach and perform at the Scottish Summer School.

Ian made his international debut in 2001 as guest soloist at the National Flute Association's International Flute Convention in Dallas. Clarke was the guest artist at the 2003 Hungarian National Flute Event and a headline artist in the 2005 NFA convention in San Diego. Ian has since performed as a featured guest soloist at major conventions in Italy, Brazil, Slovenia, Hungary, Netherlands and numerous times for the British Flute Society (BFS) and for the NFA (National Flute Association) in the USA – including in New York 2009. In 2012 Ian performed as one the headline artists in Caeser's Palace Las Vegas for the NFA and again at international conventions in Maastricht and Manchester. He has performed in Iceland, Canada, France and regularly tours the USA.[2]

In 2005, he released recordings of twelve of his own compositions, on his debut CD Within….

This received glowing reviews from the classical community:

"Ian Clarke 'Within' Marvelous and dramatic flute recordings by increasingly recognized star performer Ian. His sweeping soundscapes evoke the beauty of East Africa and capture the most intimate emotion. An album in search of its visual counterpart: Brilliant, brave, moving." [Musician (CD Review Spring 2006)]

The British Flute Society called it "a stunning performance by player composer Ian Clarke....a true master of his art"[3]

In 2013, it is thought that Ian became the first UK flute player to break into the top 10 of the classical charts with an album featuring entirely his own original compositions when he released his second classical album Deep Blue.[4] The album launch took place at The Forge in Camden on Tuesday 14 May 2013.[5]

Lisa Nelsen in PAN, the journal of the British Flute Society reviewing Deep Blue: "After a very long gap since the release of his stunning and ground-breaking first CD, Within…, Ian Clarke finally gives the world Deep Blue. What a revelation this is! ….. This disc is one of the most innovative released in recent years, and not just in a flute context. It is an incredible journey, and takes the listener to distant realms, I highly recommend it for any collection."[6]

Ian Clarke's Deep Blue entered the Classical Artist Albums Top 40 at number 8 on its release on 19 May 2013[7] following a grass roots campaign by the flute community for this self composed and performed album to achieve chart success.[8]

Emmanuel Pahud, principal flute of the Berliner Philharmoniker commenting on the album said that Ian Clarke creates "new fields of sound and music making on the flute, always expressive and virtuosic ... that takes us beyond anything we've heard before."[9]


Ian Clarke has composed classical works for solo flute, for flute and piano and for "flute choir". His composing makes much use of extended techniques – jet whistles, timbral trills, alternative fingerings, and simultaneous singing and playing.[10] He has also collaborated with musician and composer Simon Painter writing, producing and performing music for film and television under the name Diva Music.

He came to greater public attention in the UK when flautist David Smith chose to perform Clarke's composition Zoom Tube[11] in the woodwind finals of the 2008 BBC Young Musician of the Year

Performed throughout the world, Ian Clarke's imaginative and accessible compositions have done more to break down the barriers between conventional and 'extended' playing techniques than any other recent music for flute.[12]

Ian Clarke's works are published[13] and have become staples of contemporary classical flute repertoire and are regularly featured on the classical flute syllabus for both ABRSM and Trinity.[14][15]


For unaccompanied flute[edit]

  • Zoom Tube
  • The Great Train Race
  • Beverley

For solo flute and piano[edit]

  • Orange Dawn
  • The Mad Hatter
  • Sunstreams & Sunday Morning (published in one volume)
  • Hypnosis
  • Spiral Lament
  • Touching the Ether (July 2008)
  • Hatching Aliens (first performance July 2008)
  • Deep Blue[13]

For Solo Flute and Backing CD[edit]

  • T R K s
  • Tuberama
  • Within… (rearranged version of flute choir piece)

For two flutes and piano[edit]

  • Maya

For three flutes and piano[edit]

  • Curves

For flute choir[edit]

  • Within… (for seven flutes) (2003)
  • Walk Like This (for four flutes)
  • Zig Zag Zoo (for four flutes, first performance 3 May 2009)