French Horn and Composer
Leonard Bernstein, military marches, Michael Jackson, and Gil Evans. From the Coast Guard Band, to the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, to Boston and then New York City, horn player and composer John Clark has performed and recorded all over the world in a wide variety of situations including jazz, classical, pop, Broadway and commercial studio work. His musical profile reveals a diversity rare among horn players. He studied French horn at the Eastman School of Music with Verne Reynolds, later with Paul Ingraham, and continued at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he earned a Master’s Degree (with honors). While at NEC he studied horn with James Stagliano and Thomas Newell, and at the same time (thanks to Gunther Schuller’s support) he began jazz and composition studies with Ran Blake, Jaki Byard, and George Russell. He is the recipient of many professional awards, has written Jazz Exercises for French Horn, and has made five solo recordings (two of which were Grammy-nominated). In addition to his active schedule as a performer, he is busy composing, arranging and teaching.
A short list of artists with whom he has recorded (many of them Grammy winners) and/or performed includes Gil Evans, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Joe Lovano, Julius Hemphill, Jaco Pastorius, Hank Jones, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, George Russell, the Mingus Orchestra, J. J. Johnson, the Absolute Ensemble, Jimmy Heath, James Moody, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, P. “Diddy” Combs, Sting, the Boston Symphony, the Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, the New York City Ballet Orchestra, the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Leroy Jenkins, Gerry Mulligan, Paquito d’Rivera, Natalie Cole, Akiko Yano, Luther Vandross, and Speculum Musicae, among many others.
Clark’s work has been performed and/or recorded by the Gil Evans Orchestra, McCoy Tyner Big Band, Paul Winter Consort, Genghis Barbie, the Eclipse Trio, Outreach Orchestra, B3+ brass trio, Composers Concordance Ensemble, and the Pugh-Taylor Project, among others. He is the recipient of a composition grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, a NARAS award for Most Valuable Player in the Recording Field, and a Downbeat “Critics Poll” award, he has appeared on HBO, PBS, The David Letterman Show, and Saturday Night Live and has been a leader and guest artist at Sweet Basil, the Blue Note, Visiones, the Jazz Standard, Iridium, and the Knitting Factory. Clark also conducts French horn workshops and master classes. He is on the Faculty of Manhattan School of Music and is on the Advisory Board of Composers Concordance. (Please see Clark’s website for a more complete listing of his work.)
Clark has said, “In my work as a horn player, I’ve become interested in identifying both the commonalities and differences among styles of music, as well as the physical, mental and musical aspects of playing that have helped me to adjust to so many work situations.”