Our Conductor

Tony Clements

Our Director & Conductor – Tony Clements

The Ohlone Community Band, part of the Ohlone College Department of Music, has been under the direction of Tony Clements since the Fall of 2007, when he assumed the baton from the ensemble’s previous Director of eleven years and fellow low brass player, Steve Barnhill.

Tony Clements is now the Director of the Ohlone Wind Orchestra, the Ohlone Tuba Ensemble, the Ohlone Community Band and the Mission Peak Brass Band (also based out of Ohlone College in Fremont).

Tony Clements started his tuba studies at the age of 7 in Lindenhurst, New York where he was taught by Julius Rubin, a freelance trombonist, and later by Bill Barber, who was a member of the Gil Evans Band. At the age of 14, he and his parents moved to Modesto, California, where he attended Thomas Downey High School. During his high school years, he was mainly self-taught as the nearest tuba teacher was in San Francisco, 100 miles away. On his 18th birthday, he and his tuba got on the train bound for Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio. (Amtrak would not take two large cartons, so Tony took his tuba and had his clothes shipped later.) He spent his freshman year under the tutelage of Gary Tirey. After one year, he returned to his adopted home state, California, and attended the University of the Pacific, in Stockton. There, he studied with Floyd Cooley of the San Francisco Symphony. After a brief stay at Stanislaus State College in Turlock, California, Tony moved to Los Angeles to attend Cal State, Northridge, where he obtained the bulk of his musical training. There, he played tuba in the symphony, bass trombone in the jazz band, euphonium in the wind ensemble and bass trumpet in the brass ensemble. He was the Assistant Conductor of the Wind Ensemble, under Morrell Pfeifle and conducted the tuba ensemble and new music ensemble as well. Tuba-wise, he studied with Tommy Johnson, Jim Self and finally, Roger Bobo. He got his symphonic training with Mehli Mehta in the American Youth Symphony and Myung-Whun Chung and the Young Musicians’ Foundation Debut Orchestra. Along the way, Mr. Clements has spent summers playing at Disneyland and Marriott’s Great America.

In 1981, while playing bass trombone in a long run of “Music Man”, Mr. Clements won the post of Principal Tubist in the San José Symphony, a post he holds today with it’s successor, Symphony Silicon Valley. For many years, in addition to his artistic duties, Mr. Clements was also the orchestra’s Personnel Manager. As a contrast to his hectic schedule during the symphony season, he has played several summer music festivals. Among them are: Music in the Mountains, in Nevada City, California; The Mozart Festival, San Luis Obispo, California; The Cabrillo Festival, Santa Cruz, CA, Sand point, Idaho and the Lake Tahoe Festival.

Tony has played with the San Francisco Symphony, San Diego Symphony, the Oakland Symphony, the Sacramento Symphony, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, The San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Opera San Jose, Ballet, San Jose and many free-lance orchestras in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is fond of saying, “I’ve played the “Nutcracker” over 600 times.”

He is a popular Bay Area soloist, playing with virtually every college band in the area and many high school groups. In 1988, Mr. Clements toured Japan with the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Wind Ensemble as their guest soloist, playing ‘Carnival of Venice’ nine times, earning him the nickname “Tuba-san.” His recent solo appearances have taken him to McMinnville, OR; Little Rock, AR; Providence, RI and Huntingdon, PA.

In 1999, Tony premiered six (!) new pieces for tuba & strings with the San Jose Chamber orchestra, under the baton of Maestra Barbara Day Turner. In his next appearance with the SJCO, he premiered three new pieces for euphonium & strings. This season, he performed Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Concerto for Bass Tuba” with the Symphony Silicon Valley.

In 2001, Mr. Clements was appointed the Conductor of the Ohlone Wind Orchestra and was added to the conducting staff of the El Camino Youth Symphony. His teaching positions have included Stanford University, Cal State East Bay (where he was Director of Bands for the 2006-07 school year) and Ohlone College, where he directs the 30-member Tuba Union of the Bay Area, a tuba ensemble comprised of local tubists. In September 2007, he was named Director of Bands at Ohlone College, adding the Ohlone Community Band to his duties. And in 2010 he added the Mission Peak Brass Band, a Traditional British Brass Band, to the Ohlone College Band Program. In addition to his musical activities, he has opened a music shop dedicated to the professional low brass player, The Low Brass Werks, in Campbell, California (www.lowbrasswerks.com).

In January, 2008, he was sworn in as President of Local 153 of the American Federation of musicians.

In his leisure time, Clements enjoys camping, playing with his dogs, Baylee & Lena and riding one of his beloved Harley-Davidsons.

For more about Tony: http://www.symphonysiliconvalley.org/musicians.php?pagecontID=66&MusID=70