Hugh Clarke

Hugh (Archibald) Clarke. Educator, composer, organist, conductor, b Upper Canada (Ontario), 15 Aug 1839, d Philadelphia 16 Dec 1927; honorary D MUS (Pennsylvania) 1886.

Clarke, Hugh

Hugh (Archibald) Clarke. Educator, composer, organist, conductor, b Upper Canada (Ontario), 15 Aug 1839, d Philadelphia 16 Dec 1927; honorary D MUS (Pennsylvania) 1886. His birthplace has been cited variously as Toronto, Hamilton, and 'near Toronto'; it is not known where his parents resided in 1839. His father, James P., was his principal teacher. Hugh Clarke grew up in Toronto, where he made his debut as a pianist in 1854. In 1859 he went to Philadelphia with his bride, the singer Jane Searle, and established himself as an organist and teacher. As his father had made musical-academic history in Canada, so did Hugh Clarke in the USA: in 1875 he was appointed professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the first two such in the USA. (The other, John Knowles Paine, was appointed at Harvard in the same year.) Clarke remained at Pennsylvania for over 50 years and in 1920 was made head of its new School of Fine Arts. He was one of the earliest specialists in music theory in North America. Among his pupils were the composer William Wallace Gilchrist, the musicologist Otto Albrecht, and his own daughter Helen Clarke (1860-1926, a poet and composer and the editor of Poet Lore magazine). Clarke formed and led the university's Abt Male Chorus. His music to Aristophanes' Acharnians, of which he himself published the vocal score in 1886, is considered his best work; it earned him his honorary doctorate. Other major works were the cantata The Music of the Spheres (self-published 1880), the oratorio Jerusalem (Presser 1890), and incidental music for Euripides' Iphigenia in Tauris (1903). Perhaps the earliest Canadian-born writer of sonatas, he left two for violin and piano (unpublished) and three 'easy' ones for piano (Boner 1874).

Writings

- ed.Songs of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia 1879)

Harmony on the Inductive Method (Philadelphia 1880, Boston 1908)

The 'Scratch Club' (Philadelphia 1889)

Theory Explained to Piano Students (Philadelphia 1892)

Pronouncing Dictionary of Musical Terms (Philadelphia 1896); student edn, Pronouncing Musical Dictionary (Philadelphia 1896)

A System of Harmony Founded on Key Relationships (Philadelphia 1898, 1926)

Music and the Comrade Arts (Boston 1899)

The Elements of Vocal Harmony (New York, Boston 1900)

Key to Harmony (Philadelphia 1901)

Counterpoint Strict and Free (Philadelphia 1901, 1929)

Highways and Byways of Music (New York, Boston 1901)

- ed. Songs of Bryn Mawr College (Philadelphia 1903)

- ed. The Amateur, a periodical (Philadelphia 1870-5);


Further Reading

  • Mahoney, John D. 'Dr. Hugh A. Clarke, musician,' General Magazine and Historical Chronicle, vol 48, Apr 1941