Bruce Clarke

Clarke was a freelance guitarist-arranger for many radio orchestras between 1949 and 1956. Clarke accompanied foreign artists on their Australian concert tours. He also played in the ballrooms and dance halls that were the heart of pre-television society. Television arrived in Australia in 1956 and ended this era. Bruce entered the world of television and film music production and composition. In 1957, he founded his own production company and studios called The Jingle Workshop. Between 1957 and 1974, he directed more than 3000 film and television soundtracks. Some of these included Helen Reddy’s vocals. He used electronics extensively, including the Moog synthesizer. He continued performing throughout this time. He was given the task of realizing the first major electronic work in Australia for the 1968 Adelaide Arts Festival. He also conducted performances in Melbourne featuring works by Webern, Berio, and Stockhausen. As a guitarist for composer Felix Werder’s Australia Felix Ensemble, he toured Europe. He was also a member of the ABC orchestras and performed under the leadership of Charles Mackerras (John Hopkins), Sir John Barbirolli, Charles Mackerras and John Hopkins. He was second guitarist to John Williams in 1981’s “Concerto For Guitar And Orchestra” by Andre Previn. Bruce entered the teaching profession in 1974. After quitting his commercial business, he was appointed to the Australia Council’s music board and then became the Kenneth Myer Music Fellow at the Victoria Institute of Colleges. These positions made Bruce aware of the need to provide realistic solutions to students who want to be involved in “non-classical music”. In 1977, he established the Jazz Studies program at the Victorian College of the Arts. He also created the “Guitar Workshop”. He hosted numerous teaching clinics with “guitar legends”, including Ted Dunbar and Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis and Charlie Byrd. Bruce taught guitar in the late seventies using Berklee method books as well as his own cassette tapes. His method emphasised the tone and quality of guitar. Some of his past students included Robert Goodge (of I’m Talking), Anne McCue (of Anne McCue), Doug de Vries (of Dominic Kiernan), Barry Morton, Andrew Pendlebury (of The Sports), and Pierre Jaquinot (of Mark Cally). Clarke also established Cumquat Records, which issued recordings of Australian Jazz starting in the 1950s. The author cited his favorite collaboration with George Golla in “In Memory Of Charlie Christian” (“Soft Winds”) CQCD-2712 from his collection of recordings. Bruce Clarke recorded with Frank Sinatra on his tour of Australia. He also recorded with Stan Getz, Stephane Grappelli and Dizzy Gillespie. From Wikipedia.

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