13 Dec 2023

Andrew Clark: meet the new presenter of Mornings on RNZ Concert

From Afternoons, 2:30 pm on 13 December 2023

Although Scottish-born broadcaster Andrew Clark is not himself a "morning person", he's loving his new job as presenter of the RNZ Concert show Mornings.

Many Kiwi seem to enjoy hearing a Scot on the radio, too, Clark tells Jesse Mulligan.

"We did a special playlist on Saint Andrews Day [a celebration of Scotland's national saint] at the end of November … and the text lights basically lit up with a lot of people from across the country telling me about their heritage. So that was really special."

Andrew Clark at RNZ

Photo: supplied / Andrew Clark

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Clark grew up in rural Scotland, for a time living in a village just between Auchtermuchty (where rock duo The Proclaimers were raised)and Falkland (where the TV drama Outlander is filmed).

For him, the 18th-century poems of Scotsman Robert Burns have always been a "big deal".

"I love the 'To A Mouse'. It's such a simple poem about Burns ploughing in a field and he suddenly overturns a mouse's nest... [Reads] The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!"

At school, Clark studied music and played many instruments including the euphonium, trumpet and trombone. He also studied French and German and after high school visited each of these countries.

For "something completely different" after six months in France working as a translator, Clark did a university exchange to Rostock in East Germany.

"I was like give it a try and see what happens. What's the worst can happen?

"I'm on the train September 1989. Get to the border, there's barbed wire, soldiers everywhere. It's a miserable day and I'm looking and thinking ... what the hell have I just done here?

"My heart sinks but anyway, I give it a good old crack. And then, as we know, in November, the Berlin Wall comes down. So I'm there at the most historic moment in history.

"As a student, we went to demonstrations every week. We can see the whole system unravelling in front of our very eyes. it was just such an amazing period in history."

Scotland is still very important to Clark - "I'm actually sitting in the studio with Tunnocks Tea Cakes" - and he's glad the Scots language is experiencing a revival.

While people who spoke it were once regarded as "hicks from the sticks", it's now become a little bit more hip.

Along with 'The Flower of Scotland', the 1979 song 'Loch Lomond' by Celtic band Runrig is a powerful anthem for Scots around the world, Clark says.

"In the '90s my mum was a massive fan of Runrig. I think she fancied the lead singer at the time, Donnie Munro. Don't tell Dad."

On Mornings, Clark plays plenty of classical music but also classical crossover.

He gets to play branch out a bit during the programme's regular Tuesday slot 'Love it or leave it?', which last week featured a double bass version of Europe's classic '80s track 'The Final Countdown'.

"We like to surprise people every now and again, get them a little bit out of the comfort zone."

Andrew played:

'Loch Lomond' by Runrig

'The Banjo Baron of Baltimore' by Walter Hensley (one of Andrew's relatives)

"I'm actually related to Patsy Cline through him because he is Patsy Cline's cousin ... I used to always love hanging out with him."

'Pa-Pa-Pa-Papageno' from The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Meet the new host for RNZ Concert Mornings

We’re thrilled to welcome seasoned journalist and classical music broadcaster Andrew Clark to Aotearoa for his new role at RNZ Concert

RNZ Concert Mornings presenter Andrew Clark smiling at you.

RNZ Concert Mornings presenter Andrew Clark. Photo: RNZ

Andrew brings extraordinary experience from an interesting and diverse broadcasting career in Australia and Europe. Combined with his life-long passion for classical music, we know he’ll be a wonderful addition to the RNZ Concert team.

“I’ve visited New Zealand many times and I’m looking forward to settling in and being part of the team at RNZ Concert, sharing my love of classical music with the station’s listeners,” Clark said.

Andrew Clark has already had a remarkable career as a journalist, editor, producer and presenter.
His love of classical music began as a child in Scotland when he learned trumpet, trombone and euphonium and completed grade eight. He moved into languages at University to train as an interpreter. He speaks French, German and Spanish, which has proven extremely useful for classical music presentation.

After graduating he moved to Europe, working as an English teacher and radio newsreader. He went on to present a children’s television show in Lithuania, and filed stories for CNN’s World Report, before joining the BBC. In his thirties he became the youngest ever news editor on BBC World.
Before moving to Australia 14 years ago, he helped to launch Al-Jazeera English in Asia and then moved to public broadcaster SBS, where he rose to the position of Executive Producer of SBS News.
After 25 years in news, Andrew left SBS in 2020, keen to focus his media talents on another passion, classical music. He began presenting Breakfast and Drive on Australia’s oldest FM radio station 2MBS Fine Music Sydney. He had already been hosting specialty shows on the station for more than a decade as well as a short stint presenting for sister station 4MBS in Brisbane.
Andrew comes to New Zealand to present RNZ Concert Mornings, bringing together his passion for media, classical music and the love of experiencing different countries and cultures.

He replaces Siliga Sani Muliaumaseali'i who announced in June that he will return to his international singing career later this year, with RNZ’s thanks for a wonderful year on air.

Andrew Clark will hosting Mornings from, 6–10am Monday to Thursday on RNZ Concert from November, with Carey McDonald continuing to host the show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.