Nigel Clarke

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Nigel Clarke (born 1960) is a British composer and musician. He is a former head of composition and contemporary music at the London College of Music and Media.[1]

Clarke began his career as a military bandsman, then studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music with composer Paul Patterson.[2] While at the Royal Academy, he was awarded the Queen's Commendation for Excellence. He was previously Young Composer in Residence at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Composition and Contemporary Music Tutor at the Royal Academy of Music, London, Head of Composition at the London College of Music and Media, a visiting tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music and Associate Composer to the world-famous Black Dyke Mills Band , Associate Composer to the Band of the Grenadier Guards, Composer-in-Residence to the Marinierskapel der Koninklijke Marine (Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy) and Associate Composer to Brass Band Buizingen in Belgium. He has also been guest professor at the Xinjiang Arts Institute in China and Associate Composer to the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. More recently he has become Visiting Composer to Middle Tennessee State University Bands and is International Composer in Association to the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band in the UK.

In 1997, Clarke visited the United States as part of the country's International Visitor Leadership Program, and the President's Own Marine Band performed one of his pieces, "Samurai", conducted by Colonel Timothy Foley.[2] The Winnipeg Fress Press described the piece as a throbbing, raucous work influenced by Japanese drumming.[3] In 2008 the award of Doctor of Musical Arts was conferred upon him by Salford University. Clarke is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Nigel Clarke recently (2015) collaborated with Danish writer Malene Sheppard Skærved on his first symphony ("A Richer Dust") for Speaker and Symphonic Wind Orchestra. Using music and words, ‘A Richer Dust’ explores what it means to live with violence and extremism, the constant companions of human history. The intertwined text and music, ideas and images, weave together voices ranging from those of historically significant figures through to the voiceless, ordinary people living in extraordinary times. "A Richer Dust" was commissioned by Dr Reed Thomas and the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Wind Ensemble. It was premiered on 14 April 2015 by Dr Reed Thomas (Conductor), H. Stephen Smith (Speaker) and the MTSU Wind Ensemble in the T. Earl Music Hall, Wright Music Building, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA. The European Premiere was given by the Regimental Band of the Irish Guards on 6 November in the Guards Chapel, London, under the baton of the composer with WO1 Andrew Porter as Speaker.

Early life[edit]

After failing the 11plus (school exam) Clarke attended St. John’s Secondary Modern School, Margate, UK, a school aimed at children that would probably not go on to higher education. This could have been an early setback for a musical career, however the school had a strong emphasis on music and in particular brass playing. He went on to be a junior musician (bandsman) at the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, Kent in 1977, but was unable to complete the course successfully for musical reasons. In 1979 he joined joined the Staff Band of the Royal Army Medical under the direction of Major Peter Parkes and attended the Royal Military School of Music (Kneller Hall) the same year. In 1982 Clarke started his studies as a composition student at the Royal Academy of Music and also joined the Band of the Irish Guards which he served with until 1986. Clarke feels that some of his early setbacks in life, both at school, and as a junior bandsman in the Royal Marines Band Service are down to the fact that he has dyslexia. He said "I was very disruptive at school and music use to calm me down".


  • 2006: Co-Nominee World Soundtrack Awards ‘Discovery Of The Year′ - The Thief Lord (Movie)
  • 2013: Winner British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) `British Composer Awards’ Mysteries of the Horizon
  • 2016: Nominee British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) `British Composer Awards’ A Richer Dust

Works by Nigel Clarke[edit]

Chamber music
  • Echo & Narcissus – solo flute (1985)
  • Spectroscope – solo cello (1987)
  • Lindisfarne Stone – violin & Piano (1989)
  • Flashpoint – solo viola (1990)
  • Premonitions – solo trumpet (1990)
  • Chinese Puzzles – flute & piano (1992)
  • Pernambuco – solo violin (1993)
  • On the Wings of the Wind – classical accordion (1993)
  • The Hemlock Stone – solo clarinet (1997)
  • The Devil and the Hemlock Stone – Clarinet and sound design (1999)
  • Loulan – solo violin (2002)
  • Equiano – clarinet quintet (2008)
  • Where A Scarlet Flower Will Blossom – solo trumpet (2014)
  • An Epitaph for Edith Cavell – solo violin (2014)
  • The Exotic Dream of the Wonderful Monsieur Magritte - Trumpet & Sound Design (2016)
  • Solstice – solo piano (1991)
String orchestra
  • Parnassus (1986)
  • Winter Music (1991)
  • The Miraculous Violin – violin concerto (2000)
  • Dogger Fisher German Bight Humber Thames Dover Wight – (2013)
  • Pulp Rag – (2014)
  • The Scarlet Flower – Concertino for Flugel Horn & Strings – (2014)
Brass band
  • Atlantic Toccata (1993)
  • The City in the Sea - Euphonium Concerto – (1994)
  • The Pendle Witches (1996)
  • Mechanical Ballet (1997)
  • Gwennan Gorn (1997)
  • Breaking the Century (1999)
  • Swift Severn's Flood (2009)
  • Earthrise (2010)
  • Tilbury Point – [transcription by Nigel Clarke] (2010)
  • When Worlds Collide A Space Symphony (2012)
  • Mysteries of the Horizon - Cornet Concerto – (2012)
  • Forgotten Heroes – "March" [transcription by Luc Vertommen] (2013)
  • Further Adventures of the Same – (2016)
Symphonic Wind Orchestra/Concert Band
  • Samurai (1995)
  • City in the Sea – Euphonium Concerto [transcription] (1997)
  • Breaking the Century [transcription] (1999)
  • Battles & Chants - clarinet concerto (2001)
  • Mata Hari (2002)
  • Tilbury Point (2003)
  • King Solomon's Mines (2003)
  • Gagarin (2004)
  • Forgotten Heroes (2005)
  • Black Fire – violin concerto (2006)
  • Fanfares & Celebrations (2007)
  • Fields of Remembrance (2008)
  • Heritage Suite (What Hope Saw) (2009)
  • Their Finest Hour (2010)
  • Earthrise [transcription by Nigel Clarke] (2012)
  • The Flavour of Tears "Trumpet & Band (2nd movement of 'Mysteries of the Horizon')" [transcription by Nigel Clarke] (2013)
  • Storm Surge (2013)
  • Old World Overture (2014)
  • A Richer Dust (Symphony No.1 for Speaker & Wind Orchestra) (2014/2015)
  • Mysteries of the Horizon - Trumpet/Cornet Concerto for Wind Orchestra – [transcription by Nigel Clarke] (2015)
  • Outrageous Fortune (Symphony No.2) - Trombone, Actor' & Wind Orchestra" (2016)
  • Featuring Rhythm – treble & bass clef brass instruments (1989)
  • Sketches from Don Quixote Trombone (or tuba) and piano (1992)

Original Motion Picture Scores (Co-written with Michael Csanyi Wills)

  • Jinnah (1998)
  • The Little Vampire (2000)
  • The Little Polar Bear (2001)
  • Rocket Post (2004)
  • Baseline (2010)
  • Will (2014)
Book contributions
  • Verlag, Linda Merrick. "Collaboration between Composers and Performers"
  • Miles, Tim and Westcombe, John. Music & Dyslexia: Opening News Doors.
  • Miles, Tim; Ditchfield, Diane; and Westcombe, John.Music & Dyslexia: A Positive Approach.


  1. ^ Bone, Lloyd E.; Paull, Eric R.; Morris, Winston. Guide to the Euphonium Repertoire. Indiana University Press, 2007, p. 452.
  2. ^ a b Clarke, Nigel. Biography,, accessed 5 April 2010.
  3. ^ Nemerofsky, Gwenda. Unexpected percussion discussion bang on, Winnipeg Free Press, 2 May 2009.

External links[edit]