World-renowned composer and conductor Dr. René Clausen has served as conductor of The Concordia Choir since 1986. He is the artistic director of the Emmy Award-winning Concordia Christmas Concerts, which are frequently featured by PBS stations throughout the nation.
Clausen is a renowned composer and arranger, having written dozens of commissioned compositions for famed performances, including “MEMORIAL” and “Crying for a Dream” for the American Choral Directors Association. He is also a frequent guest conductor, composer and lecturer. Clausen has conducted such works as Mozart’s “Requiem,” Beethoven’s “9th Symphony,” Brahms’ “Requiem” and several of his own works including “Gloria” – in three movements – performed at Carnegie Hall in New York.
His compositions and arrangements are published by E.C. Schirmer, Roger Dean Publishing Company, Shawnee Press in the Mark Foster Catalog, Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Hal Leonard, Walton and Augsburg Fortress.
“Life and Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen” is a 13-track recording by the Kansas City Chorale. This CD of compositions by Clausen won two Grammy Awards in 2013, including Best Choral Performance.
Clausen was commissioned by Concordia College to compose a major work to observe the 500th anniversary of the Reformation titled “The Passion of Jesus Christ,” which premiered at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, in April 2017.
Clausen graduated in 1974 from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., and received Master of Music Performance and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana.
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.
In 1996, Clausen was named the Paul J. and Eleanor Christiansen Chair in Choral Music at Concordia. In 2016, the Reuel and Alma Wije Distinguished Professorship Award was conferred upon Clausen.
In 2017, Clausen was honored by his alma mater with the St. Olaf Alumni Achievement Award.
In 2018, he received the Weston H. Noble Award for Lifetime Achievement from the North Central American Choral Directors Association.