For forty years Clark Santee has been an active producer and director of music programs for television and video. During that time he has worked with the widest array of musical artists known to any director in the television industry. His productions have run the gamut of musical expression, from symphony, opera and ballet to rock, folk and jazz.
Santee began directing just as PBS was formed. Here his work found immediate acceptance with music staples Austin City Limits, In Performance at Wolftrap and the Lonesome Pine Specials. Among his special projects were Leonard Bernstein’s landmark series, The Unanswered Question, and Aaron Copland’s opera, The Tender land, with the composer himself conducting. Also at this time Santee was active in PBS children’s programing, working with Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Zoom and later, Barney.
Once the cable industry arrived it became the destination for a number of Santee’s directorial efforts including MTV’s music history series Rock Influences and Frank Zappa’s legendary Halloween Concert at the New York Palladium. At CBS he directed The Song Writers, a mini-series on the work of Broadway composers, and for NBC directed Kenny Rogers Classic Weekend. He also was responsible for the television portions of Martin Scorsese’s film, The King of Comedy. Among Santee’s special projects were America’s Jr. Miss Pageant, Farm Aid, Jazz at the Smithsonian and both the Dove Awards and the W. C. Handy Blues Awards. During this time he also help create Graffiti Rock, the first television program devoted to the hip-hop phenomenon.
Tributes Santee directed for television include Lincoln Center Tribute to Leonard Bernstein, A Tribute to Woody Guthrie, A Beatles Songbook and Company’s Coming, a tribute to Porter Wagoner’s 50 years at the Grand Old Opry. Symphony orchestra productions list the National Symphony as well as those in Philadelphia, Boston, Oregon, Nashville, Minnesota, Seattle and Baltimore. Internationally Santee directed Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun concert from Buenos Aires, and ONE: The World Trade Spectacular from Singapore.
As part of the Nashville music scene Santee became involved in a number of country music productions including the BBC’s Country Night at the Ryman with Ricky Scaggs, Faith Hill and Clint Black, and the series Live from the Wildhorse Saloon. Now a resident of Portland, OR, he recently won an Emmy producing & directing the annual PBS holiday special, Christmas at Belmont. Santee has also been active in the production of biographies, the most recent being “How Bad Do You Want It?," a look at the life of World Water Speed Record holder, Ken Warby.
Looking back on his career Santee believes the greatest reward has been the diversity of artists with whom he has had the pleasure to work. Beginning with Bill Haley and his Comets, James Taylor and Grand Funk Railroad, then continuing with legends such as Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Dion Warwick, Lionel Hampton, Beverly Sills, and B. B. King, and finally working with contemporaries Wynton Marsallis, Bonny Raitt, Vince Gill, Whitney Houston, Yo Yo Ma and others who stand as a “who’s who” of today's musical entertainment, it has been a remarkable journey.
SANTEE VIDEO PRODUCTIONS Portland, Oregon Performing Arts for Television & Video