Derek Clark: Conductor/Pianist/Vocal Coach

Derek Clark was born in Glasgow and is an Honours graduate of the RSAMD and the University of Durham. He also studied at the London Opera Centre before joining Welsh National Opera as a répétiteur in 1977, making his professional conducting debut in 1981 with Handel’s Tamerlano.

He was Head of Music at Scottish Opera from 1997 to 2023 and conducted more than 30 operas for the company, including major works by Handel and Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Massenet, Puccini, and Gilbert & Sullivan.

He provided re-orchestrations for their touring productions of Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Die Fledermaus, Carmen, Rodelinda and The Elixir of Love and devised many Opera Highlight/Essential Scottish Opera programmes.

He also specialised in contemporary music, as conductor of all three seasons of Scottish Opera’s highly successful Five:15 project, the Scottish premieres of James MacMillan’s Clemency, Philip Glass’ The Trial and the world premieres of Craig Armstrong’s ‘The Lady from the Sea’ and Rory Boyle’s award-winning opera Kaspar Hauser: Child of Europe.

He continues to work as an accompanist, and as a Guest Coach and Examiner at the major conservatoires and colleges and at the National Opera Studio. Though most of his professional life has been spent in the opera house, he has also found time to compose and arrange music for a wide variety of people and circumstances – his music has been performed in venues ranging from village halls to Westminster Abbey.

He was appointed Musical Director of Dundee Choral Union in 2011, and since 2014 has been Director of Music at Helensburgh Parish Church, where his annual ‘Come and Sing’ Christmas concerts, and concerto performances have raised many thousands of pounds for charities such as MacMillan Cancer Care and Christian Aid.

• • •

Opera Caledonia engagements: “Behind the Curtain”, “The Music of Sir Walter Scott”, “Puccini in Paris”, “Anush Hovhannisyan: An Evening of Opera & Song”, “Come & Sing: Music of the Opera April & October 2023”, “Carols by Candlelight 2023”, Vocal Studio Course Faculty member 2023 / 2024, “Viva l’amore”, “Puccini Festival • In Memoria • Lunchtime Concert, Puccini in Scotland, Evening Recital”.