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Frederick R. Charles Clarke: Biography

Frederick R. Charles Clarke
1931 - 2009
Region: Ontario

Frederick R. Charles Clarke

Born in Vancouver in 1931, F.R.C. Clarke attended St. George's School for boys there. In 1949 he went to Toronto to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. Among his teachers in Toronto were Healey Willan (composition) and Eric Rollinson (organ). In 1951 he received the Royal Conservatory Gold Medal in Organ; in 1952 he became a fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists; in 1954 he received the degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Toronto.

Living in St. Catharines, Ontario from 1954 to 1958, Dr. Clarke pursued a career as a church organist, composer, teacher and conductor (1957/58) of the St. Catharines Symphony. During this period he also taught at the Hamilton Conservatory of Music.

Dr. Clarke moved to Kingston, Ontario in 1958 to become organist/choirmaster at Sydenham St. United Church (a post he held for 40 years) and conductor at the Kingston Choral Society (1958 to 1977). From 1959 to 1969 he was Lecturer in Church Music at Queen's Theological College. In 1964 he joined the faculty of the Queen's University Music Department (now School of Music), and from 1981 to 1991 he was Director of the School.

Dr. Clarke was chairman of the music committee for the production of joint Anglican/United Church HYMNBOOK 1971. In 1983 his book, Healey Willan: Life and Music was published (U of T Press, reprinted 1984 and 1997). His interest in Willan has continued wit the subsequent completion and orchestration of several of Willan's unfinished works, notably the "Dirge for Two Veterans" and the "Requiem Mass" for chorus and orchestra (the Requiem was published by Oxford University Press in 1992).

As a composer Dr. Clarke has won several awards and published over 30 works (mostly choral, organ and piano pieces). There are also many unpublished works, most of which are available from the Canadian Music Centre.

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