Arne Running, Composer

arne runningArne Running (1943-2016) was born and raised in Moorhead, Minnesota. He began studying the clarinet at age eleven, and only six years later was performing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra. Although he composed a number of works during his high school years, his writing came to a temporary halt when he entered Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. While studying there, the demands of acquiring proficiency on his chosen instrument left little time for composition. Additionally, the prevailing style of music composed in this country during his Conservatory years, the 1960s, was foreign to his personal, tonality-based style of writing.

After receiving his Bachelor of Music degree from the Conservatory, Running attended Temple University in Philadelphia, where he received a Master of Music degree. Following graduation, he began a busy career as a freelance musician in Philadelphia, performing as principal clarinetist with the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Concerto Soloists Chamber Orchestra, and the Philly Pops Orchestra, as well as substituting with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also been a member of several contemporary music ensembles, including Penn Contemporary Players, Network for New Music, and Orchestra 2001. As a conductor, he has worked with youth, All-State, community, university and professional orchestras.

At age thirty-three, after a seventeen-year hiatus, Running began to compose once again. This was in 1976, and the country’s musical climate had become more accepting of diverse compositional styles. His first composition wasChorale and Capriccio for Band, and the publication and international acceptance of this work gave him renewed confidence in his personal compositional voice. Works written since then have been commissioned by a variety of ensembles, including the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Olaf College Band, and the Berks Classical Children’s Chorus.

Running’s catalog of works is not large. This is partly out of necessity (his performing career was a busy one), but it is primarily a matter of quality control: if circumstances were not conducive to completing good work, the work was left undone. He believed, “It is easy to compose notes. It is not so easy to make sure the notes are telling the composer’s story truthfully.”

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