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date: 12 April 2021

Clarke [Friskin], Rebecca (Thacher) [Helferich]locked

  • Liane Curtis


(Thacher) [Helferich]

(b Harrow, nr London, Aug 27, 1886; d New York, Oct 13, 1979). English composer and viola player of German-American parentage.

Born and raised in England, with a German mother and an American father, Clarke spent much of her adulthood in the United States and she claimed both English and American nationality. Her late-Victorian childhood and, in particular, her father's cruelty, are described in her memoir written in 1969–73. But it is also clear that her family was artistically inclined and her musical studies were encouraged. Clarke enrolled at the RAM in 1903, where she studied the violin. She was abruptly withdrawn from the institution in 1905, when her harmony teacher, Percy Miles, proposed marriage. In 1907 she began a composition course at the RCM, where she was Stanford's first female student. Again, she was unable to finish her studies, as her father suddenly banished her from the family home....

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Berkeley, University of California at Berkeley, Music Library
Washington, DC, Library of Congress, Music Division
Musical Times
The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers
Musical Quarterly
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music
S. Fuller: The Pandora Guide to Women Composers: Britain and the United States (1629 - Present)
Aldeburgh, Britten-Pears Library
Rochester (NY), Sibley Music Library, University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music