Nigel Clarke (b. 1960, Calcutta, India) began his musical career as a military bandsman but a developing interest in composition, stimulated by the New Polish School of composers, took him to the Royal Academy of Music to study with Paul Patterson. Here his striking originality and capacity for hard work were recognised by many significant awards including the Josiah Parker Prize adjudicated by Sir Michael Tippett and the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence – the Royal Academy of Music’s highest distinction, which is awarded to one student only a year and which had never in the institution’s history been conferred on a composer. In 2008 Nigel was also awarded the title of Doctor of Musical Arts by the University Salford.
In 1997 the United States of America Ambassador (William J. Crowe, Jr.) invited Nigel to join the United States’ International Visitor Programme sponsored by the U.S. Information Agency. This offered him the unique opportunity to tour the USA in order to observe and experience different aspects of musical culture including jazz, classical and Native American music. This tour culminated in a performance of his work Samurai by the `Presidents Own’ United States Marine Band. In 1998 Nigel began collaborating with the composer Michael Csányi-Wills, with whom he has co-written the scores to a number of significant films. They have been nominated several times at the `World Soundtrack Awards´ and have recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.
The quality of his composition has been acknowledged on his recent disc CD (Naxos `Nigel Clarke´ 8.570429): “Nigel has built a reputation for music of extraordinary richness and virtuosity. His music is constantly inspired by many different musical languages, and belief in very close collaboration with musicians and ensembles. This leads to extremely brilliant writing which, however physically challenging, is consistently gratifying for players and exciting for audiences. His work Samurai has become a modern-day classic and typifies his style of composition, with exuberant and explosive moments contrasting with periods of transcendental beauty”. The French classical music website Abeille Musique recently said of Nigel “Without doubt, we have here one of the great European composers of times to come: take good note of his name”.
Nigel’s music is extensively played and broadcast internationally, and he has received performances in Argentina, Australia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, China, Croatia, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Macedonia, Norway, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United States of America, as well as throughout the European Union. To date Nigel has many works recorded on CD, including two critically acclaimed, dedicated discs of his music.
Works for Winds
- Battles & Chants
- Black Fire
- Breaking the Century
- The City in the Sea
- Fanfares & Celebrations
- Fields of Remembrance
- Forgotten Heroes
- Gagarin (2004)
- Heritage Suite (2009)
- King Solomon's Mines
- La Fleur en Papier Doré (2019)
- Mata Hari
- Mysteries of the Horizon (2015)
- Samurai (1995/2007)
- Tilbury Point
- What Hope Saw (Heritage Suite)