Clarke, Hugh Archibald


He was born of Scottish parents in Toronto, Canada, but having lived most of his life in Philadelphia, he is generally classed with American composers. He gained great fame as a teacher and was considered one of the most learned harmonists in America. He studied the organ with his father, J. C. Clarke, who was a fraduate of the Oxford Musical chool and a professor in the Upper Canada University. In 1859, young Clarke went to Philadelphia, where he taught and composed and where for fifteen years he held the position of professor of the theory of music in the University of Pennsylvania, from which, in 1886, he received the degree of Doctor of Music. While there he taught a number of pupils who became eminent, among them William W. Gilchrist. For several years Dr. Clarke was the leader of the Abt Male Singing Society of Philadelphia, which was disbanded in 1876. He has written the overture and choruses to Aristophenes' Acharinaus, produced, in 1886, by students of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the few times when a revival of Greek comedy was attempted in this country. Dr. Clarke received praise not only from musicians for this work, but from Greek scholars, as tfell, for the perfect adaptation of the music to the metres of Aristophenes. His oratorio, Jerusalem, was given in Philadelphia by the Philadelphia Chorus, under the leadership of Dr. Gilchrist, in 1891, with great success. He also wrote much music for the piano and many songs. In manuscript are several cantatas, with orchestral accompaniments; choruses for male voices; and two sonatas for piano and violin; also some church music. Dr. Clarke is the author of a treatise on harmony and instruction books for piano and organ, and has also translated German poetry into English verse, including a rendering into blank verse of the well-known German drama, Harold, by Ernst von Wildenbruch. He has also lectured in the University Extension courses on the art of music.