Clarence Padilla
  • Instrument Clarinet

Clarence Padilla is a Professor of Music (clarinet) at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he also serves as the Music Department Chair.  Professor Padilla has concertized, conducted and presented master classes across the United States in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, California, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas and the District of Columbia.  International presentations have been given in France, China, Mexico, Germany and Austria.

Clarence Padilla has been a member of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra since 2000 and served as the Acting Principal Clarinet for the 2010-2011 Concert Season.  He has frequently performed as a woodwind musician for Broadway touring shows including Wicked, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein, West Side Story, South Pacific, La Cage Aux Folles and 42nd Street. Mr. Padilla previously served as principal clarinet for the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts Orchestra, the Long Beach Municipal Band (California) and second clarinet with the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra.

In 2010, Clarence Padilla released his second solo compact disc recording, entitled With the Wind.  The album features Nicholas Roth (piano), Cynthia Giunta (piano) and the Drake University Wind Symphony (Robert Meunier, conductor).  The recording includes the music of Graham Lyons, William Dougherty, Bill Liston, Ralph Kendrick and Alec Templeton. Professor Padilla is a featured soloist on the Drake University Wind Symphony compact disc recording, Collage (released in 2009), performing the Jazz Suite for Clarinet and Wind Symphony by Los Angles based composer and arranger, Bill Liston.  Clarence Padilla released his first solo compact disc recording in 2002. The recording, entitled Playing Through, received a favorable review in the International Clarinet Association (ICA) quarterly publication, The Clarinet. Later in 2013, Padilla will release his third compact disc recording, entitled Friends and Fairways.

In May 2011, The Drake Trio, comprised of Padilla, colleagues Ashley Sidon (cello) and Nicholas Roth (piano) were invited by the French Ministry of Culture and The Concours Dutilleux to give 5 performances throughout France.  In 2009, Padilla gave recitals and presented master classes in Beijing and Shanghai, China, under the auspices of the Drake University Chinese Cultural Exchange Program.

Professor Padilla was a featured soloist with the Drake University Wind Symphony at the 2012 (Central Michigan University) and 2008 (University of Nebraska, Omaha) North Central Division Conference of the College Band Director’s National Association.  In 2005, Padilla was an invited featured performer at The International Congress of Clarinet and Saxophone in Acapulco, Mexico.  Subsequently, he was invited to give a solo recital and present master classes at the National Conservatory of Mexico in 2006, and at the National University of Mexico in 2007. Mr. Padilla is also an active chamber musician as the clarinetist with The Drake Trio and The Polaris Wind Quintet.

Mr. Padilla has performed with a highly varied group of artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, Midori, Ray Charles, Pat Boone, Marilyn McCoo, Amy Grant, Simon Estes, The Manhattan Transfer, Roger Williams, Patrick Stewart, Lee Greenwood, and conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Bright Sheng and Lukas Foss. He has also recorded for the Disney Company Entertainment Division and Touchstone Pictures.

Students who have studied with Clarence Padilla have been selected as winners and finalists for state, regional and national competitions sponsored by the Music Teacher’s National Association (MTNA), the National Foundation for the Arts, the International Clarinet Association and the Des Moines Symphony.

Clarence Padilla holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from California State University, Long Beach, a Master of Music Degree in clarinet performance from the University of Southern California and has pursued doctoral studies in clarinet performance at USC where he was a student of Mitchell Lurie and David Shifrin.  Mr. Padilla has also studied with Robert Marcellus, David Atkins, Thomas Hill, James Kanter and Virginia Wright. He holds professional memberships in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, and an honorary membership from Mu Phi Epsilon.   In 2011, Clarence Padilla was appointed Conductor/Musical Director for the Des Moines Metro Concert Band.  He also serves as the Personnel Manager for the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to his appointment to Drake University in 1993, Mr. Padilla was a member of the faculty at California State University, Fullerton and held public school teaching positions in the Long Beach and Los Alamitos Unified School Districts.

Member of the Orchestra since


Favorite composer

Copland, Mahler, Bernstein

Favorite solo piece

Copland's Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra

Other than classical music _____ is on my iPod

I love to listen to great big band music! I also enjoy Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.