Biography of Clarke Rebecca:
Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) was born in Harrow, England to an American Father and a German mother. Educated at London's Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, she studied composition with Sir Charles Stanford, she was his first woman student. Clarke had a long career as a violist, in 1912 she was one of the first women to be admitted to the Queen's Hall Orchestra. She achieved fame as a composer with her Viola Sonata and Piano Trio (1921), both written for competitions sponsored by Mrs. Coolidge. Throughout the twenties Clarke steadily wrote chamber music and songs, much of it for her fellow performers. Based in London from 1924 to 1939, Clarke toured extensively, performed with a number of ensembles, and broadcast over the BBC. She spent the years of World War II in the U.S., 1939 to 1941 was another period of compositional productivity. In 1944 she married pianist James Friskin, who had been a fellow student at the Royal College, and settled in New York, where she lived until her death at age 93. While achieving some recognition in her lifetime, Clarke often felt conflicted about composing. She rarely promoted her own work, stating in a 1976 interview "I never was much good at blowing my own horn." Thus a large number of her compositions were not published or even performed in her lifetime. Her life story offers insights on a creative woman whose greatest successes are her compositions themselves, even those that are only now being discovered.