Andrew Clark has been blowing down pieces of metal tube ever since he first emptied his grandmother’s kitchen cupboard and found a funnel before the age of two. Encouraged by his musical parents, this interest was transferred to the french horn at school when the education department supplied two new horns for the school orchestra. After one week of using the new instrument he was chastised by the music teacher because it had become tarnished, so for a couple of years he avoided practice for fear of spoiling its shine.
Joining a youth orchestra inspired him to practise, and he started saving his pocket money, eventually persuading his parents to help him buy his first horn: one that was tarnished by much use. In a bid to catch up with technology he purchased a lacquered horn before entering the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1983. There, encouraged by horn professors Halstead, Chidell and Bryant, he was reintroduced to the joys of un-lacquered horns in the form of historical instruments (which should not be subjected to over-zealous polishing) and after graduating he went on to perform with many orchestras and ensembles using both period instruments or their modern counterparts.
Since then highlights of his career include many years of playing principal horn in London Classical Players (Norrington); Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Academy of Ancient Music (Hogwood); English Concert (Pinnock); and Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Koopman) with whom he recorded Bach’s Cantatas. As a soloist he has made several commercial recordings: concertos by Vivaldi, Fasch and Crusell; works for horn and piano by Beethoven and Czerny; the Brahms Horn Trio, Mozart’s Horn Quintet, Beethoven’s Sextet and the Sonata da Caccia by Thomas Ades. He was also a horn teacher at London’s Royal Academy of Music for seventeen years and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London for ten years. He has been coaching horn students at UBC since 2010.
His musical career has taken him around the world with many orchestras and ensembles. Performances of Bach’s B minor Mass alone have taken him to Albania; Britain; Canada; France; Germany; Italy; Macedonia; Slovenia; Spain and Switzerland. He is now attempting to tour less often, partly in order to reduce his carbon foot-print.
In 2010 Andrew moved from England with his wife, bassoonist Katrina Russell, to Vancouver Island. Here they have set up a horn making workshop, building customized instruments for himself and for colleagues around the world. He has been playing principal horn with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra since 2011.