David Clark

Professor
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David Clark was the resident jazz instructor at the International School for the Double Bass in Cincinnati, Ohio, during which time he was twice recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts jazz study grant. He is currently a professor at Berklee College of Music where he teaches bass and jazz. He is the musical director of the Berklee Faculty Inter-Galactic Sun Ra Astro-Infinity Myth Equation Commemorative Arkestra.

As a performing bassist, Clark has appeared with a host of renowned musicians including Mose Allison, Lois Bellson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Peter Frampton, and John Medeski, to name just a few. He is also a prolific jazz writer, and his compositions have been recorded by such artists as Gary Burton, Cercie Miller, Tim Ray, Dick Johnson, Armen Donelian, and Strange but Trio. He has received the Mass Council for the Arts Award for Jazz Composition. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in composition from the New England Conservatory of Music.

  • Career Highlights
    • Upright and electric bassist, composer, and producer
    • Performances with renowned musicians such as John Abercrombie, the Boston Pops, Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Merchant, and John Williams, among others
    • Appearances on over 40 albums including those with Gunther Schuller, Orange then Blue with George Adams and Howard Johnson, Dick Johnson, Maggie Scott, and Armen Donelian, among others
    • Private lessons with Richard Davis, Rufus Reid, Michael Moore, and Eddie Gomez
  • Awards
    • Eunice Shay Award for Outstanding Musical Achievement
    • National Endowment for the Arts jazz grant
    • Mass Council for the Arts Award for Jazz Composition
  • Education
    • B.M., New England Conservatory of Music, composition
    • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, composition

In Their Own Words

"One summer in high school, I went to a marine biology camp. I realized I wanted to commit my life to music when I found myself more tuned in to the records that staff members were playing than marine biology. I couldn't wait to get back to the drums, the piano, Philadelphia radio stations, and my musical friends. But I did love going out into the ocean and diving, and that continues to be an inspiration musically."

"I'm addicted to learning about music—all stages of it. I love stretching to learn something a little bit beyond my conceptual grasp. As a teacher, what I want most is to help students learn more about the music they love. Sometimes this leads them to consider skills and practices they didn't anticipate enjoying. When students feel frustrated over a particular aspect of practicing and shrink from it, I help them find a way to transform it into something intriguing, even pleasurable. I also share ways of organizing practice routines to help a student get absorbed into practice while maintaining balance among skill areas."

"One of the roles of a teacher is to help students gain a panoramic awareness of music and what to work on. I try to expand my students' awareness of being part of a rhythm section, which is like the shaman's drum. It's important to develop a rhythmic quality and robustness of sound that ignites the imagination of the performers and listeners, and a groove that has a transformative effect. A common pitfall is to play too busily instead of understanding one's role within the group. I tell my students that we need to listen beyond our own performances in order to clearly hear and identify with the sound of the whole group."

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