Arbor Sketches

1967 / edited 2023 . . . piano or harp (6:40) In 1967 I was already earnestly composing for piano, trombone (my own instrument), even for orchestra. Living beside the Shiawassee River’s glacial-moraine beginnings in rural Livingston County Michigan, my best pastime was hiking along the creek’s forested banks. I was already going to AnnContinue reading “Arbor Sketches”

Hawking’s Time

2023 . . . sound sculpture . . . 5 minutes Stephen Hawking, the great theoretical physicist and cosmologist, is famous for solving in 1974 the mind-boggling mathematics of black holes and what became known as their Hawking Radiation. He also wrote a fascinating book, A Brief History of Time. Now, after Hawking’s death, hisContinue reading “Hawking’s Time”

Viennese Sketches

Twelve Miniatures in Twelve Tones 2023 . . . chamber orch: Fl, Ob, Clar, Bsn, Strings . . . 12 minutes I have long admired and been influenced by the music of early 20th-century Austrian composer Anton Webern. Known historically as a member of the Second Viennese School with Alban Berg and mentor Arnold Schoenberg,Continue reading “Viennese Sketches”

Passing Storm

Animated Landscape No. 4 2022 . . . sound painting (4:30) In 1973, I composed my second orchestra piece as a graduate student at the University of Michigan. The title was inspired by John Cage’s famous Imaginary Landscapes No. 4, which we performed as I was an ensemble member of Contemporary Directions. The idea ofContinue reading “Passing Storm”

Aristotle’s Elements

2022 . . . four sound sculptures for orchestra (15:30) One feature of my modern-music and composition e-book Mapping the Music Universe is a set of composing experiments called MapLabs. Each provides lab instructions to gather material and make compositional choices, and each provides an example piece built step by step along the path ofContinue reading “Aristotle’s Elements”

Yin Yang

2022 . . . voice and piano (4:10) A visit to the shores of Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula inspired me to write a poem: Peninsula upon peninsula upon grand peninsula,Lee upon Leelanau upon Lower.Cove from bay from great lake,Suttons Bay off Grand Traverse Bay off Lake Michigan. Land curves in myriad shore shapes,Reaching out to blueContinue reading “Yin Yang”


These are a distillation of my guiding principles through many years of teaching, serving as an academic leader, and meeting, working with, and understanding many very successful musicians. They don’t really belong on this composer-and-photo-art site. Or do they? Clark’s Rules for Musician Success Teaching is not so much imparting knowledge as it is facilitatingContinue reading “CLARK’S RULES”