After his first concert with the National Symphony Orchestra, John Clanton was described in the Washington Post as a “confident conductor of patience and intelligence” with an “affinity for the exuberant music. It was clear from this heartfelt music making that the NSO likes working with Clanton”.

As a pops and orchestral conductor, he served as music director of The U.S. Army Orchestra; conducted the National, Phoenix, Annapolis, and Tuscaloosa symphonies; and guest conducted the pops orchestras of San Francisco, Detroit, Grant Park, Naples, Cincinnati and London while collaborating with Erich Kunzel and Marvin Hamlisch.

As a musical theatre and opera conductor, he conducted performances of West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, City of Angels, She Loves Me, Ragtime, and Oklahoma!. He also directed from the piano productions of Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago, Singin in the Rain, Seussical, Spamalot, Grand Night for Singing, Newsies, Illyria, Legally Blonde, and Show Boat. He conducted “Il Trovatore” with The US Army Orchestra and Chorus and was assistant conductor for “La Traviata” with the Washington National Opera; music director and pianist for the Shenandoah Conservatory Opera Theatre; cover conductor for National Symphony performances of “Eugene Onegin” and “Carmen”; assistant director for “Postcards from Morocco” at Eastman Opera Theatre.

As a choral conductor, he served as music director of The U.S. Army Chorus and The Soldier’s Chorus; conducted the Mozart Requiem; sang and recorded with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; twice guest conducted the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; and founded the Armed Forces Chorus, which he conducted during the National Cathedral Memorial Services for the State Funerals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald R. Ford.

As a wind conductor, he served in Washington, DC, as an associate conductor of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and The U.S. Army Field Band.; was conductor of the Army Ground Forces Band in Atlanta, GA and the 8th Infantry Division Band in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. He has also led performances with the Dallas Wind Symphony and the Eastman Wind Ensemble.

John enjoyed a 25-year career as a conductor in the U.S. Army Bands Program and retired in 2012 as a Lieutenant Colonel. During that time, he conducted performances for millions of audience members in 10 countries and 49 states. He performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Ravinia, Chautauqua and Carnegie Hall and worked with such renowned artists as Bob Hope, Jessye Norman, Sylvia McNair, Leonard Slatkin, Kansas, Chanticleer and Walter Cronkite. He has performed for 6 U.S. Presidents, 23 foreign Heads of State, and at the 2002 Winter Olympics, 1996 & 2004 Presidential Inaugurations and the White House State Dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

John was twice selected by Leonard Slatkin to participate in the Kennedy Center’s National Conducting Institute, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Furman University, a Master of Music in Conducting from the Eastman School of Music, and an Artist Diploma in Musical Theatre from the Shenandoah Conservatory.