Clark PotterProfessor of Viola
Area of Focus: Music History, Strings
A native of Longview, Washington, Clark Potter is associate professor of viola at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, where he is also on the conducting faculty. Mr. Potter is principal viola of the Lincoln Symphony, director of NEBratsche (the UNL viola ensemble), and he is an active performer as a solo recitalist and chamber musician. Mr. Potter has conducted the Lincoln Youth Symphony since 2007 and has conducted that ensemble in Rome, Prague, Budapest, Dresden, Leipzig and Vienna. He is also a member of two chamber ensembles: the Nebraska Chamber Players and the Trans-Nebraska Players, and he is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician at schools in Nebraska and around the region. He has conducted All-State Middle School Orchestras in Iowa, Oregon and Alabama, and he has appeared more than 20 times as a guest conductor of high school honors orchestras in Kansas, South Dakota, Nevada and Nebraska. In 2007, Mr. Potter was selected to receive the award for Private String Teacher of the Year by the Nebraska chapter of the American String Teachers Association, and in 2008 he was honored as the String Educator of the Year in Nebraska by the same organization.
Mr. Potter has been working for several years with Dr. Gregory Bashford and students of UNL's Biological Systems Engineering department to develop an instrument that measures breathing rates and intensities while playing the violin or viola, and testing has begun! Results of initial testing were documented in the presentation "How do Upper String Players Breathe When They Play? Can Anything be Done to Help?", given at the March 2015 ASTA conference in Salt Lake City and the Nebraska Music Educators Conference in November of 2015.
In the spring of 2013, Mr. Potter received three significant awards. First, he was awarded "Outstanding Faculty in Outreach, Engagement and Service" for the College of Fine and Performing Arts at UNL. Second, he was awarded the "Golden Baton Award" for his dedication and work as a musician and citizen in Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra. And third, he was awarded a designation and book entry as a "Hero of Today" at a banquet in honor of heroes recognized statewide by the Hildegard Center for the Arts, nominated by a high school student in the Lincoln Youth Symphony. In 2015, the UNL Parents Association presented him a certificate for “Contribution to the Lives of College Students” for the ninth time.
Prior to his appointment at Nebraska, Mr. Potter taught nine years at Eastern Oregon University, where he was associate professor of strings and conductor of the Grande Ronde Symphony. He received his graduate degrees from Indiana University and California Institute of the Arts and his bachelor's degree from Western Washington University. He has studied with Peter Marsh, James Dunham, Charmian Gadd, Richard Goldner, and Mimi Zweig.
During the summers, Mr. Potter is on the faculty of the University of Nebraska's Chamber Music Institute and the Omaha Conservatory of Music Institute. He has been a performer in the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra, a guest artist at Rocky Ridge Music Center, artist/teacher of viola and chamber music at the Young Musicians and Artists summer program in Salem, Oregon, the Puget Sound Chamber Music Workshop, Lutheran Summer Music program and the Csehy Summer School of Music. He is active in the American String Teachers Association: he served six years on the board of the Nebraska chapter, he was president of the Oregon chapter, and he has written for the organization's national magazine. Mr. Potter recently served a three-year term on the Nebraska Music Educators Assoc. executive board. He has also dabbled in composition, having composed three pieces for young orchestras, music for two contemporary ballets, one full-length "cowboy" musical, several pieces for choir and pieces for smaller instrumental combinations, including a viola sextet.
In 2010, Mr. Potter performed the viola solo in Vaughan Williams' Flos Campi with the Lincoln Symphony, and with the same orchestra he was featured with violinist Anton Miller, performing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante in 2005. In 2010 he performed the premiere of Martin Gaskell's Fantasia for Viola and Orchestra in Austin, TX. In addition, he is half way to his goal of performing as a soloist or chamber musician in each of the 50 states.
Clark would rather be at home than anywhere else in the world, however, enjoying time with his family (wife, Jan; daughter Shannon and her husband Phillip; and son Samuel). He is a big baseball fan, and his favorite hobby is to run and race on roads and trails year around.