Conductor, composer and singer Arlen Clarke was born in upstate New York in 1954. He graduated
with a Bachelor of Music (1976) in Voice Performance from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS. After a
year of graduate study with renown choral conductor, Lloyd Pfautsch at Southern Methodist University in
Dallas, TX, he went on to receive his Master's in Vocal Performance from Texas Christian University, Fort
Worth, TX in 1983.
While serving in the military he studied voice under Met Opera singer, Martile Bucklew-Rowland. Under
her tuteledge he performed as soloist with the Colorado Springs Symphony and Colorado Chorale in
Bach's B Minor Mass, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Handel's Messiah and the Faure Requiem. He has also
sung performances of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Mississippi Chorus and Symphony
Orchestra and the Vaughan-Williams Five Mystical Songs. Other solo roles include performances in
Verdi's Requiem, Charpentier's Mass for Christmas Eve, Mozart Requiem, and Mass in C. Operatically
he has sung the roles of Gianni Schicci, Papgeno in Die Zauberflote, Count Almaviva in Mozart's
Marriage of Figaro, Tabor in The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Valentine in Gounod's Faust.
Upon completion of six years of active duty as an officer in the US Army he was a singer and later, the
composer-in-residence during the1989-90 season at Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in
Kansas City, MO. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed to the post of Director of Choral Activities at his
alma mater, Belhaven College.
Six of his compositions are extended works. The Canticle of the Sun, a thirty minute work for SATB choir,
brass quintet and percussion and organ, (since re-scored for orchestra) was composed in 1996 for the
The All-Collegiate Choir and Capital Brass and the MS Music Educators and MS ACDA conference at the
University of Southern Mississippi. Requiem: A Mass for All Saints, for choir and soloists, chamber
orchestra, organ and percussion received its premiere at Delta State University in Mississippi. He has
received commissions to compose music for several churches across the US. Most notably, they
include O Nata Lux, Opus 41, for choir, orchestra and organ, composed for the First United Methodist
Church in Lancaster, PA and An American Triptych, premiered at the 2002 Piccolo Spoleto Festival in
Charleston, SC. His Summer in Winter- A Cantata for Christmas, for orchestra and chorus was
premiered on December 12, 2004 in Lancaster, PA by Dr. Brian Norcross and the 1st Methodist Church
Chancel Choir and orchestra. The Spirit of Harford for chamber orchestra and chorus was composed for
the Harford Choral Society's fiftieth anniversary year celebration.
His music has been performed at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and at the
White House. In May of 1997, the Delta State University Chorale introduced his choral music to
European audiences during its Twelve Days in May European choral tour in Heidelberg, Munich,
Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Vienna. His compositions are published by St. James Music Press, Voice of
the Rockies, and Lorelei Music.
Earlier in 2005 he completed St Patrick’s Suite for Strings. It was premiered in November, 2005 in
Lancaster, PA by the Franklin and Marshall University orchestra. Allegro-The Chamber Orchestra of
Lancaster premiered his Concerto for Trumpet in Feb 2006 and the Concerto for Horn, premiered in of
2006. A repeat performance was presented in March, 2007. Nocturne for Julia was commissioned,
composed and performed in 2007 in Lancaster. His latest commissions include A Cradle Song (text by
William Blake) for soprano and harp or piano, and With All the Company of Heaven scored for chorus,
brass quintet, woodwinds, organ and percussion.
He has conducted choirs and orchestras in well-known works such as Messiah and Elijah, several
Mozart Masses, Brahms' Requiem, Verdi's Requiem, and Vaughan-Williams' Hodie. In 1996 he was
asked to appear as guest conductor for the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra featuring works of Mozart,
Beethoven and Schubert. He has served on the Mississippi Opera Board of Directors, and was
appointed as director for the Mississippi Opera Chorus for the 1996 season.
Mr. Clarke founded ANAM CARA-The Chamber Choir of Idaho, a non-profit choral organization in 1999.
This group of sixteen singers performed in a series of concerts throughout the state of Idaho and in the
International Choral Festival in Pocatello. ANAM CARA performed in Dublin, Ireland, where they joined
famed organist, Diane Bish in taping television broadcasts of The Joy of Music, which was released
nationwide on PBS in July, 2000. ANAM CARA released their first CD in 1999 that included cuts from live
performances in Ireland and the United States.
Until 2003 he served as the artistic director and conductor of the then eighty-six member Harford Choral
Society and 16-member chamber chorale in Bel Air, Maryland. He conducted these groups with
members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra major
choral/orchestral works including his own. Performances by the Harford Choral Society works include
Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah and Coronation Anthems, the Mozart Requiem, Rutter’s Te Deum,
Vaughan-Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, and Schubert’s Mass in G.
In addition to composing in his studio, he maintains an active schedule as a conductor, singer and
vocal coach, choral clinician and adjudicator. He currently serves as Choirmaster at St. Mary's Catholic
Church in Greenville, SC.
|The MUSIC of COMPOSER ARLEN CLARKE
Conducting the Choral Festival at St Helena's
Episcopal Church, Beaufort, SC 2009
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC -Strings