Portrait of an Artist: Andrew G. Clark
Andrew G. Clark is the director of the Holden Choir Program, the oldest collegiate choral program in the United States. He is also the conductor of the Radcliffe Choral Society, the Harvard Glee Club, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. Clark led the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s “Vespers” on Saturday. He was named director of the Holden Chior Program in May 2010 , succeeding Dr. Jameson N. Marvin.
The Harvard Crimson: Can you tell me a little bit about the upcoming performance of “Vespers”?
Andrew G. Clark: Sure. The Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, a mixed choir of 60 singers, is celebrating [its] 40th anniversary this year. Through the years, they’ve often performed selections or individual movements from “Vespers” but never had an opportunity to perform the work in its entirety. We’re going to be performing the entire work, which is about 60 minutes in length—it’s quite an undertaking.
THC: Besides the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, what other groups do you lead on campus and what’s your role as the director of these groups?
AGC: My role as the director of choral activities includes [leading] the Collegium Musicum, the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus. I oversee a staff of five conductors and a choral administrator, and together we teach about 500 Harvard community members.
THC: What inspires you to wake up every morning and teach students at Harvard?
AGC: Passion’s a great word—the first reason is that our students have so much passion. Their level of engagement and excitement and their thirst for not just excellence but for intellectual probing and the refinement of their artistic craft is really what gets me out of the bed in the morning. Music is the focal point but, I would say, not the end goal for our groups. There’s a really beautiful and vibrant supportive sense of community that I think is as much a draw for our students as performance experiences themselves.
THC: Have you always been a conductor? How did you get into conducting?