Clare Strong (née Johnston)


Clare Strong (née Johnston) is an Australian composer, based in Melbourne. Clare has composed works for some of Australia’s leading performers and ensembles including: the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Goldner String Quartet, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Claire Edwardes (percussion), Sarah Curro (violin), Stefanie Farrands (viola), Virginia Taylor (flute), Alice Giles (harp) and Louise Johnson (harp). She is currently finishing her Masters as part of the National Women Composers’ Development Program run by the Sydney Conservatorium.

Clare completed a Bachelor of Music from the University of Melbourne in 2013, where she was awarded the Esther Rofe Award for Composition. In 2015 she won the David Henkels Award for Composition and had her Gypsy Trio performed at the 3MBS Performer of the Year Awards.

In 2015 Clare was selected to participate as a composer in the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat in New Hampshire, USA. She studied with composer Martin Bresnick and had one of her compositions performed by the Wet Ink Ensemble from New York City. Clare was also selected to participate in the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine, USA where she studied with leading American composers and had her works performed and recorded by the Contemporary Ensemble at the festival and the AMF Orchestra.

Clare was chosen as one of four composers at the AYO National Music Camp 2015 where her music was conducted by James Judd and performed by leading international musicians.

Composer website:

Featured Works

The Jive, for saxophone quartet.

The Jive is a lively piece in three sections. It employs minimalist techniques such as canon, adding rhythmic cells, cross-fading, resulting patterns and mensuration canon. Some of these techniques are used more freely than in strict minimalism. I experimented with different canonic textures and the resulting patterns created when shifting motives between the different saxophones. Motives in rhythmic unison as well as cross-rhythms are explored in the last part of the piece. Dynamic swells and funky rhythms make The Jive somewhat unpredictable…

Featured in the playlist: Small Ensemble Waves (1/3/2016)

Mountains, for Orchestra.

This piece was written on AYO National Music Camp 2015 and was performed by the AYO tutors and conducted by James Judd. The work has two movements entitled ­­The Ridge and The Valley. The musical motifs throughout the work reflect the turbulence and tranquility of nature so evident in the appearance of mountains. While the work is not literally programmatic, I experimented with different melodies, rhythms and harmonies that could convey images of mountains and valleys in sound.

Featured in Orchestral Waves (November 2018).

Gypsy Trio, for Piano Trio.

Gypsy Trio is a fiery piece that uses Gypsy scales and syncopated rhythms. It is filled with rhapsodic virtuoso passages which help to build the work to a climactic end

– Clare Strong

Featured in Harmonic Waves (May 2019).