Eddy, Hiram Clarence


Clarence Eddy, celebrated American organist, was born at Greenfield, Mass. He early showed musical talent, and began to study at the age of eleven. In 1857 he became a pupil of Dudley Buck, and the next year organist of the Bethany Congregational Church, Montpelier, Vermont. In 1871 he went to Berlin, where he studied organ under August Haupt and piano under Albert Loeschhorn. After a European concert tour, he returned to America, and was at once offered the post of organist in the First Congregational Church, Chicago. Two years later, in 1876, he became director of the Hershey School of Music in that city, afterward marrying the founder of the school, Mrs. Sara Hershey. Here he gave a series of one hundred organ recitals, including about five hundred compositions, without repeating a single number, and covering an extensive range of various schools, composers and styles of organ literature. The closing recital of this series consisted largely of works written for the occasion by some of the most noted organ composers of that day. In 1879 he became organist and choirdirector of the First Presbyterian Church, where he remained till about 1896. He was also for a number of years conductor of the Philharmonic Society. Eddy has an international reputation such as no other American-born organist can boast. Beside his numerous concert tours through this country and Europe, where his masterly playing has elicited the warmest praise from critics in the largest cities, he played by special invitation at the Paris Exposition in 1889 as America's foremost organist. Previous to that time he had played at the Vienna Exposition in 1873, and the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876, and within the last two decades has played at all the large expositions held on this continent, including the Jamestown Exposition of 1907. The great Auditorium organ, Chicago, is a testimonial to his knowledge of what the instrument should be, as he examined a number of the larger organs in Europe before his advice was given as to this one. He has also won European tributes for American organ works, and Haupt, Guilmant, and Sgambati have all pronounced him a player of the first rank. His influence in this country has been marked in elevating the standard of organ-playing and in widening the range of repertory. At present, Mr. Eddy is organist and choirmaster of the Tompkins Avenue Congregational Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Mr. Eddy is also well-known as a teacher, and has composed a number of classical works for his instrument, preludes, fugues, etc., although his work in these lines has ever been second to his concert playing. His published works are a translation of Haupt's Theory of Counterpoint and Fugue, in 1876, and four collections of organ music by various composers; The Church and Concert Organist, in two volumes; The Organ in Church; and Concert Pieces for the Organ.