Captain Matthew Clark inducted into the American Bandmasters Association

News Article / March 13, 2017

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National Defence

Captain Matthew Clark, commanding officer and director of music for the Royal Canadian Air Force Band, was formally inducted into the prestigious American Bandmasters Association (ABA) during a March 11, 2016, ceremony in Lexington, Kentucky. His election into the ABA, which took place last year, makes him the only serving Canadian Armed Forces member in the association. 

“In the time I have been supervisor of music for the Canadian Armed Forces, Captain Clark has impressed me with his dedication, passion and artistic vision for symphonic wind music,” Canadian Armed Forces music branch advisor and supervisor of music Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Chan said. “This is a great honour both for Captain Clark and for all the Canadian Armed Forces musicians who work hard at their craft each day.”  

Captain Clark, who has been a musician in the Canadian Armed Forces since 1997, was extended an invitation to join the ABA last March while he was the commanding officer and director of music for the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy.

His talents were noticed by Dr. Gerald King, head of music education and wind conducting at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. He began the long process of gathering supporting evidence of Captain Clark’s work to bring to the ABA. Over a period of about four years, Dr. King filed away audio recordings of the then-naval officer conducting the Victoria Symphony and the Naden Band, conducting for the University of Victoria, and leading the Victoria Philharmonic Choir. 

“Matthew is an outstanding musician, conductor, euphonium soloist, educator, and leader,” Dr. King said. “He is a leader who meets the personal criteria for membership in ABA—an individual of integrity who is committed to excellence in everything he undertakes—he is a wonderful human being who is personable, witty, and honest.” 

As a commanding officer, Captain Clark has produced several recordings and collaborated with notable Canadian composers such as Robert Buckley and Ian McDougall. He is one of six Canadians who are part of the ABA’s group of 300 conductors and composers. 

Quick Facts

Captain Matthew Clark is on his second tour as a commanding officer and director of music with a Canadian Armed Forces Band.

The role of the CAF Music Branch is to provide quality music that is designed to support CAF operations, to foster morale and esprit de corps, and to promote the Department of National Defence, and Canadian aesthetics and values, both nationally and elsewhere. The branch is also tasked to promote the CAF as a career choice for Canadians.

The 83rd Annual American Bandmasters Association convention is taking place in Lexington, Kentucky, from March 8–11, 2017, and Captain Clark will be conducting “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band on March 10.

The ABA was formed in 1920 by Edwin Franko Goldman, a prominent band composer, to raise esteem for concert bands among musicians and audiences, and to solidify concert bands’ place in the cultural heritage of North American society.

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