Garry Clark is a highly respected name in music education and for many years has played a central role in the development of musical talent in the Western Sydney region. He is a conductor, teacher, performer, administrator and more. Over the years he has developed and perfected a highly successful public school music program that has been emulated by many other schools. He is music director at three primary schools, and also for the Hills Music Academy and the Blue Mountains Concert Band; he is a regular contributor to the advisory boards for some of Sydney's most prestigious music festivals and eisteddfods, and he is a committed member of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors' Association (ABODA). He performs as a saxophone player with the Sydney Wind Symphony and is regularly invited to perform for other groups in the Sydney region.
Garry began learning the Clarinet at the age of 12 under the tutelage of Graeme Chapman. While still at school, Garry performed in several ensembles including The Hills Music Academy Bands under Mike Butcher, and the Western Youth Orchestra. After completing his HSC, Garry enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force Band in Sydney and performed with them for just over five years. During this time he studied Clarinet further with Mark Walton (Sydney Conservatorium) and Terence Stirzaker (Sydney Conservatorium, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra). Garry also showed a keen interest in conducting and worked alongside his teachers as a student conductor.
As a performer, Garry has had wide and varied experience. He currently performs as a saxophone player with the Sydney Wind Symphony (formerly the City of Sydney Wind Ensemble). He has performed with groups such as the Australian Wind Orchestra, Sydney Wind Orchestra, Penrith Symphony Orchestra, The Occasional Performing Sinfonia (TOPS) and he regularly performs for various amateur and semi-professional Musical Societies in Sydney.
Garry has won numerous awards for his performances and has received much recognition. He was the Open Alto Saxophone Champion in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 NSW State Solo Championships, as well as Open Woodwind Champion of Champions in 2003 and 2005.
Garry studied conducting with Dr Robert Rosen and Professor Jerry Nowak for many years. He has served as manager and staff associate conductor for the Jerry Nowak Conducting Summer School over most of the past 15 years. In both 2005 and 2006 he was selected to participate in the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program, working in 2005 with Graham Abbott and members of the MSO, and in 2006 working with Kenneth Young in Sydney.
Garry conducts primary school bands at three schools in the Baulkham Hills area. He also conducts the Concert and Senior bands at the Hills Music Academy and leads the Blue Mountains Concert Band. Garry was appointed Music Director for Mountains Youth Band (a division of the Blue Mountains Concert Band Inc) in 2007, and in 2009 and 2010 led the band to the Australian National Band Championships where they won first place in their division. Mountains Youth Band regularly stages professional concerts at the Q Theatre in Penrith and at other venues in the Blue Mountains area.
As a guest conductor, Garry works with the Pennant Hills H.S. and Turramurra P.S. Bands, and has done casual stints with both the Australian Winds and Moriah College Music Camps. He was also selected to conduct at the prestigious State Junior or Senior Music Camps in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, organised by the Department of Education's Performing Arts Unit.
Garry's main focus is the development of the three Primary School Band Programs that he oversees at Crestwood P.S., Matthew Pearce P.S., and Kings Langley P.S. Garry's bands perform at a very high level each year and regularly win the top awards at all the major festivals in Sydney. At the 49th NSW Annual School Band Festival held in Sydney in 2010, the eight public school bands that fall under Garry's direction were awarded seven gold awards and one silver award. These included a gold awarded to Crestwood Public School at the Alex Lithgow event, the premier section for the top bands in the state. Garry himself won the ABODA Conductor's Award for the musical director who prepared and presented the most challenging, professional and entertaining program.
Garry's bands regularly audition successfully for some of Sydney's premier concerts at the Opera House, the Town Hall and the Joan Sutherland Centre in Penrith. His primary school concert bands were chosen in 2009 and 2010 to accompany the massed choir at the Department of Education and Training's Western Sydney Showcase of Excellence, Pulse.
Garry is music director of The Hills Music Academy (HMA). The aim and purpose of HMA is to develop and showcase musical talent of all ages in the Hills and surrounding districts of western Sydney. HMA's Senior and Concert Bands perform at many community, civic, social and charity performances. In 2009, Garry led the bands on a successful tour of New Zealand where they performed at a number of concerts and workshops in Wellington, Cromwell, Christchurch and Queenstown. In 2007 Garry instigated the Orange Blossom Festival Gala Concert. This event, hosted by the Hills Music Academy, provides a unique performance opportunity that does justice to the skills and talent of local musicians.
Garry has been both the National and NSW President of the Australian Band and Orchestra Directors' Association (ABODA). He has served on the board of the Asia Pacific Band Directors Association, hosting their conference in Sydney in 1998, and has played host to a number of visiting international bands. Garry has represented Australia at meetings in Taiwan and Korea. For his outstanding contribution to ABODA, Garry was awarded their 'Citation of Excellence' award at the National Conference in Melbourne in July 2004.
Garry has a B Mus/B Teach degree from the University of New England in Armidale.