Award-Winning Composer Turns Out To Be White Man Posing As An Asian

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Highly acclaimed composer Larry Clark was revealed to have been using a pseudonym for some time during his career. He had taken on the identity of a Japanese woman, allegedly in order to benefit from the need for diversity in music. The news resurfaced when a post by music teacher Owen Davis called Clark out for the “disgusting and misleading” act. 

According to Davis, Clark had used the pen name “Keiko Yamada” to pose as a Japanese composer. He claims Clark did this “in order to profit from calls for diversity in music education.” He also lamented that while some prominent music publishers pulled out Clark’s work others simply chose to replace the name on the score. 

Davis also critiques the status that Clark continues to hold as a voice to be heard. He questions: “There is so much music that exists in the world of band by diverse voices – why does this still need to be published?”

On Clark’s end, he explains that no harm was intended in using the pen name. “It has been common for composers and authors to use pen names for centuries. Times obviously have changed, and I realized that the use of this pen name was uninformed, insensitive, and out of touch with the need for diversity in music.”

He noted that the move to change the credit on all his scores was a deliberate move. Still, he acknowledged the wrong that occurred: “I believe in the music as I do all of the music I write, but what I did was wrong and needed to be corrected.” 

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Seeking to make amends, he stated that his own music publishing company would be used to seek out composers of diverse backgrounds. He also promised to be better informed and more sensitive to such issues in the future. 

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