Dickinson, Clarence


Contemporary American organist, conductor and composer. He was born in LaFayette, Ind., and belongs to the Massachusetts Dickinson family of which the poets Emily Dickinson and Martha Gilbert Dickinson Bianchi are well-known members. Mr. Dickinson entered Northwestern University at Evanston, 111., in 1890, and during his four years' course there continued his work in piano, organ and composition under William Cutler, Harrison M. Wild and Adolph Weidig of Chicago. His first important composition, a light opera, The Medicine Man, was performed, in 1895, in Chicago and later in Boston. Mr. Dickinson's compositions are principally for the voice and organ. In 1898 he went abroad for three years' study, the first year being spent in Berlin, working in theory with Otto Singer and in organ with Dr. Heinrich Reimann; and the following two years in Paris, studying with Alexandre Guilmant in organ, and Moritz Moskowski and Louis Vierne in composition. While abroad he gave numerous recitals in France and England. Since his return he has played many recitals in the United States and Canada, including recitals at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, in which year he played also in the leading cities of Spain. Mr. Dickinson was one of the founders of the Chicago Manuscript Society and the American Guild of Organists. At present he is organist and choirmaster of St. James Episcopal Church and the Kehilath Anshe Mayriv Synagogue; director of the Cosmopolitan School of Music and head of the Organ and Theory Departments of that School; conductor of the Aurora, (Illinois) Musical Club; the Bach Society of Dubuque, Iowa, and conductor of the Chicago English Opera Company. Special mention should be made of his work as conductor of the Musical Art Society of Chicago, consisting of fifty of the leading professional singers of the city organized for the purpose of presenting those works of the old and ultra-modern composers which are of so difficult and exacting a nature as to require the services of artists.