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MR. JAMES HAMILTON CLARKE,

whose portrait we have the pleasure of publishing this week, was born in Birmingham, 25th January, 1840. Manifesting in his earliest infancy a remarkable aptitude for music, he was for some years instructed on the pianoforte and in harmony, by his father, an amateur of some attainments. He was also, when less than nine yens of age, placed under the tuition of an able local professor of the violin. At the age of twelve, he was appointed organist of a church, and about the same time made his debut as a violinist, being placed among the first violins at one of the choral and orchestral concerts, for which Birmingham has long been famous.
When fifteen years of age, however, on leaving school, instead of being permitted to pursue the study of his beloved art, and to make music his profession, he was apprenticed, to a land surveyor, in whose office he spent the next seven years of his life. He still contrived to cultivate various branches of musical art. He remained organist of a church, and was also a valued member of the local orchestra, in which he played alternately the violin, the viola, and the clarionet, and his services as an amateur were in constant requisition in the neighbouring towns.
He also commenced the study of composition, and his first overture was performed at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, in December, 1859. In 1862 his connection with business was severed; and determining to enter the musical profession in good earnest, he accepted the organistship of Parsons. town, Ireland. He remained there scarcely a year, having been selected as organist to a church in Dublin, which appointment he obtained by competition. A year and half later he was appointed conductor of an Orchestral Society, in Belfast, and organist of a church also. Here he remained for about a year. About this time, he gained the first prize ever offered by the college of organists, for an anthem composition. There were seventy-five competitors, and his prize anthem, "The lord is my light,", was shortly afterwards performed at a grand choral festival, under his own direction at St. Michael's church, Cornhill, and has since been a standard Cathedral work.
At the end of the year, 1865, he was appointed temporary organist of Llandaff Cathedral, and in the following June, organist and master of the choristers of Queen's College, Oxford, after a severe competition. In the first year of his residence-at Oxford, he took the University degree of Bachelor of Music.
He retained his post at Queen's College five years, when he received a church appointment in London. Labouring patiently and industriously in the Metropolis, he soon began to enjoy the recognition of the highest musical authorities. His chief study became composition, to which he now almost exclusively devotes himself. Several important orchestral works by him have from time to time been heard, notably a symphony in F, performed three times at the orchestral concerts at the Albert Hall, four years ago, which work was warmly praised by the great French composer, Charles Gounod. Others of his works have been performed by the British Orchestral Society, and at the Crystal Palace, Alexandra Palace, the Promenade concerts at Covent Garden- Etc., Etc.
Mr. Clarke is the author of nearly 350 compositions, including two grand symphonies, fifteen overtures, two cantatas, an operetta, orchestral ballet music, anthems and services, songs, pianoforte pieces, instrumental chamber music, sonatas for the organ, part songs, Etc., Etc. His compositions are generally esteemed for their originality and freshness, combined with the truest musical feeling. During two seasons he filled the part of musical director at the Opera Comique, with universally acknowledged ability.
His compositions have frequently received favourable mention in our Weekly Musical Review," and we hope, hereafter, to have the pleasure of welcoming him as a composer of English opera.

Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News
Saturday 19 January 1878
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
(www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

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