The Royal Conservatory of Music has announced that it has appointed Colin Clarke as the artistic director of the newly introduced Oscar Peterson Program.

As part of the Oscar Peterson School of Music, the new initiative will provide comprehensive, tuition-free musical training for young people in underserved communities.

Clarke is best known as the founder and artistic director of the Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra (TYWO), along with his work as a conductor, composer, arranger, clinician and adjudicator. He is also the artistic director and conductor of the Oakville Symphony Youth Orchestra, and he previously served as conductor of the National Youth Band of Canada.

“I am so excited about joining the Oscar Peterson School and developing the new Oscar Peterson Program,” Clarke said. “I’ve dedicated my career to connecting with communities through music and music education, and I cannot express enough my delight in having the opportunity to be able to continue this work with the Royal Conservatory.”

Clarke has guest-conducted several orchestras and choirs, including the United States Air Force Band of Liberty (in Boston), the Canadian Brass, the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Symphony Orchestra (in Sofia, Bulgaria), and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.

Clarke is a recipient of the Clifford Evans Award for conducting at the University of Western Ontario and was awarded the Ontario Band Association’s Lifetime Membership Award in 2020 for his contribution to music education in Ontario.

“Colin’s tremendous passion for music education and his dedication to working with young people make him the ideal person to lead this groundbreaking initiative at the Oscar Peterson School and support our commitment to build on Oscar’s legacy of musical excellence,” said Dr. Peter Simon, president and CEO of the Royal Conservatory.

In joining the Royal Conservatory of Music, Clarke will still maintain his positions with the TYWO and other orchestras.

The Royal Conservatory plans to launch the Oscar Peterson Program in the fall of 2022.