A cultural feast of great Fanfare and Wind Orchestras!!

Posted in News on June 25th, 2017 by Nigel – Comments Off on A cultural feast of great Fanfare and Wind Orchestras!!

‘Koninklyke Fanfare De Werkmanszonen’ performing `Earthrise’

This weekend I have had the privilege of staying and working in the small town/village called `Riemst’ in the Limburg province of Belgium, a stone’s throw from the Dutch border and the old medieval city of Maastricht. There are 13 orchestras(!) in and surrounding `Riemst’ which only has a population of around 16,000 – I think this is truly amazing and an incredible achievement, something we can all learn from and something that Belgium should be very proud of indeed. I might add the standard is extremely high and is comparable to the best any country can offer around the world!

I was a guest of the ‘Koninklyke Fanfare De Werkmanszonen’ with their conductor Yves Wuyts who are preparing my `Earthrise’ for the World Music Contest in one month’s time. The band had a great rehearsal on the Friday evening and then took part in a `WMC Try-Out Concerten’ event with other Reist based orchestras. Manu Mellaerts (Principal Trumpet at La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra) and I listened to 5 great orchestras and (I hope) gave useful feedback to their conductors and musicians after each presentation.

One unusual experience for me was hearing a new version of `Earthrise’ transcribed brilliantly by Luc Vertommen, a real labour of love!  – His transcription, I believe loses nothing in this fanfare orchestra setup. For those that do not know what a Fanfare Orchestra consists of, it has all the instruments of the Saxophone family, Trumpets, (multiple, multiple!) Flugel Horns, French Horns, Trombones and Tubas and of course a battery of percussion. These instruments have a wonderful tone quality when played together, but can also have the punch of a brass band or wind orchestra. I believe its origins date back to the 19th century.

As for ‘Koninklyke Fanfare De Werkmanszonen’, yet again I have made more new lifelong friends and look forward to supporting them in the World Music Contest in Kerkrade. They gave a spell binding performance of `Earthrise’ full of music and colour. I was very taken by a new composition that they played by a young composer Nick Van Elsen – a talent to look out for in the future with his own musical voice. The band were perfect, perfect hosts and gave me a great afternoon out in Maastricht before the try-out concert. Thank you to one and all!

Proud and honoured to become a trustee of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Posted in News on June 8th, 2017 by Nigel – Comments Off on Proud and honoured to become a trustee of the world famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band

I am very proud an honoured to have been be invited to be a trustee of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. I very much look forward to being able to help the band further it’s `cultural and artistic aims’ along with the other trustees and band members. To quote Sir Harrison Birtwistle: “The brass bands of this country are unique, and the Grimethorpe Band is unique amongst them”. I also look forward to continuing as Grimethorpe Colliery Band’s `International Composer in Association’.

To find out more about Grimethorpe Colliery Band visit there website at: www.grimethorpeband.co.uk 

The band can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.


Grimethorpe Colliery Band on stage at the Royal Albert Hall during their recent live performance of the film score “Brassed Off” under the baton of Ludwig Wicki.

Grimethorpe Colliery Band in rehearsal, synchronising the music to the film “Brassed Off” at the Royal Albert Hall.





Brass Band Buizingen perform “Dial `H’ for Hitchcock” at the 40th European Brass Band Championships

Posted in News on May 5th, 2017 by Nigel – Comments Off on Brass Band Buizingen perform “Dial `H’ for Hitchcock” at the 40th European Brass Band Championships

A big thank you to Luc Vertommen and Brass Band Buizingen for letting me tag along with you all this past weekend at the European Brass Band Championships – I know it was a tough, tough challenge to start both days in draw number one position! – The sign of true and great champions and musicians is to bounce back stronger and better than before – I thank you ALL for your totally committed performance yet again and of course with “Dial `H’ for Hitchcock” – there have been so many positive comments about your performance of “Dial H……”, this weekend and certainly many of the experts and pundits rated highly what you did. What can a composer ask for, but total commitment and dedication and of course friendship and you delivered on all these qualities!

“Dial `H’ for Hitchcock”
performed live by Brass Band Buizingen under the direction of Luc Vertommen

Nigel Clarke: Music for Wind Orchestra – Toccata Classics TOCC 0412

Posted in News on April 25th, 2017 by Nigel – Comments Off on Nigel Clarke: Music for Wind Orchestra – Toccata Classics TOCC 0412

Very excited that Toccata Classics are in the final stages of preparing a disc of my most recent wind orchestra works which include my concerto “Mysteries of the Horizon” performed by Harmen Vanhoorne (cornet) and my Symphony No 1 “A Richer Dust” for Speaker and Wind Orchestra with text by Malene Sheppard Skaerved (TOCC 0412) – We recorded both works with the Middle Tennessee State University Wind Orchestra under the brilliant direction of conductor Reed Thomas – The CD is to be released in July this year and has been two years in the making. Thank you to all those that have put so much work in to this project. More to follow shortly.


`Mysteries of the Horizon’ at Northwestern State University (Louisiana, USA)

Posted in News on March 21st, 2017 by Nigel – Comments Off on `Mysteries of the Horizon’ at Northwestern State University (Louisiana, USA)

It is a short while since our extraordinary adventure whilst visiting your University! Thank you so much for this fabulous and enriching musical experience at your unique University. The commitment that the students showed when playing `Mysteries of the Horizon’ was total and resulted in a stellar performance of my concerto – I could not have wished for more! The Wind Symphony’s approach to rehearsal was always professional and hard working and again reflects on the good work that is happening in your school.

I have said this on many occasions to Jeff Matthews (Director of Bands) that Northwestern’s approach to music-making and education is exceptional and the students are most fortunate to be in this artistic oasis. Very few great achievements happen in life by accident, and it is obvious to me that the dedication amongst the University staff is the key to your institution’s ongoing immense success –  your winning formula is simple it seems, in that the students’ musical education and welfare always come first. I am continually impressed by your students’ inquiring minds and the way they ask pertinent questions, which is a great way to learn and gain self-confidence. Beyond my project, attending Northwestern’s production of “Next to Normal” showed another aspect of the creative work that it happening at your school.

A special thank you to Cornet soloist Harmen Vanhoorne, guest conductor Reed Thomas and to all for helping me understand fully  the meaning of `Southern Hospitality’!!

Guest conductor Reed Thomas hugs solists Harmen Vanhoorne after a breathtaking performance of `Mysteries of the Horizon’ with the Wind Symphony at Northwestern State University 16/02/17 (Louisiana, USA)














Soloist Harmen Vanhoorne – ‘perfection personified’!















Jeff Matthews congratulates maestro Reed Thomas and Harmen Vanhoorne









Though I do not have a recording or video from our visit to Northwestern State, here is a performance they did last time I visited when they performed my `Earthrise’ under the baton of their Director of Bands Jeff Matthews.