Dini Clarke, a native of Washington D.C., attended Washington's District Public Schools through Dunbar High School. He entered the U.S. Navy and became Musician 2nd Class Petty Officer playing clarinet in the military band and piano in the dance band. Returning to Washington, D.C., he earned his bachelor degree in piano and voice and continued graduate work in composition and musicology with Mark Fax at Howard University. This was also the beginning of his enduring teaching career by giving voice classes both at Howard University and privately. The next few years Dini, with his trio, backed several singers including Mel Tormé, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Diahann Carroll and Al Hibbler. In addition, Dini has played in various groups such as Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Tiny Grimes, Louis Jordan, Kai and Jay, Eddie South and Stuff Smith.
Moving to New York, under management of Mercer Ellington, Dini composed lyrics to songs of Billy Strayhorn and began a song writing career. While living in N.Y. City, he continued to vocal coach various singers, worked in the legal department at ASCAP as a music analyst, and performed in various night spots which included the Hickory House and Jilly's.
While vacationing in Los Angeles, he was offered the job of musical director of an NBC show called "Fragments" for which he composed the theme, sang several songs, arranged and conducted the music. He remained in L.A., studying dance with Roland Dupree, and acting with Leonard Nimoy which led to an acting career that encompassed appearances on "General Hospital," "Hill Street Blues," and 16 episodes of "Misfits of Science". Dini has become a much sought after vocal teacher-coach, having had the position of Vocal Director for eleven musicals, including "West Side Story," "Oliver" and "Gypsy". He taught privately as well for such well known artists as Roberta Flack, Al Jarreau (winner of five GRAMMY Awards), Ernestine Anderson (receiver of five GRAMMY nominations), Peabo Bryson (winner of more than five GRAMMY awards), Lonnette McKee of "Cotton Club" and "'Round Midnight" fame, Debbie Shapiro-Gravitte (who won a TONY Award for her performance in "Jerome Robbins' Broadway"), Dianne Reeves (also a GRAMMY winner) and numerous others. Dini taught voice classes at Los Angeles City College for 16 years, USC Music Department and Howard University as well as the World Stage Theater in Los Angeles.
Dini passed away on June 14th, 2009 from heart failure. We miss him greatly.