Office of the President

Garry E. Clarke

Acting President, 1981-82



  • B.Mus., Cornell College, 1965
  • M.Mus., Yale University, 1968
  • D.Litt., Washington College, 1988

Garry E. Clarke came to Washington College in 1968 as Assistant Professor of Music in a brand new department and spent the next four decades building and nurturing a vibrant curriculum, overseeing the progress of every Music major, and contributing his talents as a performer, teacher and leader both at Washington College and throughout the Eastern Shore. Promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1973, he became a full Professor in 1979.

An accomplished concert pianist, composer, and writer, he has regularly led students in performances, including the Renaissance Christmas Dinner, dramatic productions, and the Washington College Vocal Consort and Early Music Consort, and has chaired the Washington College Concert Series.

He also served the campus community in a number of leadership positions, foremost his stint as Acting President from 1981-1982, and his recurring role as Dean of the College for a total of six years. In appreciation of his effective teaching and leadership, Washington College has over the years awarded him the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Gold Pentagon Award for Meritorious Service and an honorary doctorate. When the College renovated the Gibson Center in 2009, Clarke’s former students honored him by dedicating the building’s music library in his name. Yet another honor that meant a lot to Professor Clarke: in 1999, the Maryland Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta, which he has advised for many years, initiated him as a fraternity brother.

Off campus, he has been active in regional music circles that include the Commission on Liturgy and Music for the Episcopal Diocese of Easton and the boards of Chesapeake Chamber Music, the Talbot Chamber Orchestra, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Garry E. Clarke holds a B. Mus degree from Cornell College and a M. Mus. from Yale University. Mr. Clarke has been the recipient of a number of awards including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, and the Council for Support and Advancement of Education.

As a pianist, Mr. Clarke has played solo recitals in the United States and Europe, and he also has performed extensively as an accompanist and chamber musician. He has composed numerous works including an opera, Westchester Limited, as well as symphonic, chamber, vocal, piano and organ music. 

He has published Essays on American Music, an entry in the Grove Dictionary of American Music, and a number of essays on teaching and performing. He also has served as an opera coach for artists on the rosters of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, and the New Haven Opera Society.