René Clausen is an American composer and conductor. Described as ‘eloquent,’ ‘subtle and thought-provoking,’ Clausen’s music is known for its dramatic, emotional sweep and highly sensitive approach to text setting.
Clausen’s catalogue includes dozens of commissioned works for chorus, orchestra, chorus with orchestra, wind band and the stage. Notable large format works include the 9/11 tribute MEMORIAL and the evening-length oratorio The Passion of Jesus Christ. Notable a cappella works include Mass for double choir (featured on the Kansas City Chorale’s Grammy-winning Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen), and the choral cantata A New Creation, which includes ‘Set Me as a Seal,’ performed widely by choirs of all ability levels of across the country.
In addition to composition, Clausen is increasingly well known as a guest conductor of the major literature for choir and orchestra. At Carnegie Hall he has guest conducted the Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Mass in C Minor, together with the New York premiere of three of his own works, Gloria, Whispers of Heavenly Death, and Communion. Other major choral/orchestral works he has conducted include the Poulenc Gloria, Vaughan Williams Hodie, Beethoven Mass in C Major and Choral Fantasy, and Fauré Requiem.
Clausen recently retired from the Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he directed the internationally renowned Concordia Choir. Clausen was the artistic director of the award-winning Concordia Christmas Concerts, which are frequently featured by PBS stations throughout the nation. Prior to his appointment as conductor of The Concordia Choir, Clausen was director of choral activities at West Texas State University, Canyon, and assistant professor of choral music at Wichita (Kan.) State University. He also served as senior editor of Mark Foster Music Company and as interim conductor of the National Lutheran Choir of Minneapolis.