Conductor of the CLO
Chris Clark, 2022-Present
Born in Wellington, New Zealand to a musically active family, from his earliest memory Chris always knew that he wanted to become a conductor. Inspired by a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, he began his conducting studies at the age of 16.
Chris is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Music, and at 21 moved to Canada to study at the University of British Columbia. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Pettman DARE International Performance Scholarship, a highly sought-after award for leaders in opera. This included a year-long immersive leadership experience at Opera North, New Zealand Opera and the University of Leeds.
In August 2014 Chris concluded his role as Assistant Conductor of Orchestra Wellington, during which he conducted innovative orchestral education projects throughout the region. In September that year, he moved to Manchester, UK where he completed his Master of Music in Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music. Chris received an endorsement for exceptional talent from Arts Council England in 2017, enabling him to remain in the UK to pursue his career.
Chris is currently studying conducting privately with Martyn Brabbins, the Music Director of English National Opera and Jac van Steen, Honorary Principal Guest Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra.
In the UK, Chris has worked with the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the City, Ulster Orchestra and was previously Music Director of the Salford Symphony Orchestra.
As a trumpet player, Chris has performed with the Hallé, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, New Zealand Opera, Royal New Zealand Ballet and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Winner of the prestigious Dame Malvina Major Foundation Arts Excellence Award for international conducting studies, Chris would also like to acknowledge the generous support of the James Wallace Arts Trust, Adam Foundation, Barrie and Maureen Pettman, Waverley Fund, Todd Foundation and The Lion Foundation.
Learn more about Chris and his current work: chrisclarkmusic.com
At CLO, we strive to work with and help further develop up-and-coming conductors. In 2019, we built a two-year tenure into our Constitution, with post-holders allowed two tenures with the orchestra.
We are proud to see our past conductors continue from stride to stride in the challenging and competitive professional music community.
John Warner, 2017-2022
John studied Music at St Peter’s College, Oxford. He won the prestigious University conducting competition, affording him a year with the Oxford University Philharmonia.
In 2014, he founded the St Peter’s Chamber Orchestra, who relaunched in 2018 as the Orchestra for the Earth.
Whilst at the CLO, John conducted 12 programmes with the orchestra, one of which wasn't able to be performed due to the onset of the first lockdown for the Covid pandemic.
Edmund Whitehead, 2016-2017
British-Russian conductor and repetiteur Edmund Whitehead first achieved international recognition as a Jette Parker Young Artist Conductor and Repetiteur at the Royal Opera House, where he is currently the offstage conductor.
He is an assistant conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and returns to the Wimbledon Symphony Orchestra as conductor for the Spring and Summer seasons.
Edmund conducted three programmes with the CLO, his tenure cut short for an exciting opportunity on the continent! He conducted one of the orchestra's most memorable concerts: A Night at the Opera, which continues to be a favourite amongst members and audience alike.
Susie Geeson, 2015-2016
When CLO first began, we were conducted by violinist and friend of the orchestra, Susie Geeson, who helped build the foundations on which we stand today
Susie is a freelance multi-instrumentalist and vocalist whose musical range spans from rock to baroque.
Susie conducted the orchestra's first concerts and was integral to setting the tone of our members-led ethos.