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CLEMENS, CHARLES EDWIN

CLEMENS, CHARLES EDWIN

CLEMENS, CHARLES EDWIN (1858-26 Dec. 1933) was an internationally recognized organist who inaugurated the Department of Music at WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY. He was born in Devonport, England, where he was the regular organist of Christ Church by the age of 11. He furthered his musical education at London's Royal College of Music, where Sir Arthur Sullivan singled him out to serve as accompanist for a special performance of The Mikado. Clemens was active in several musical organizations in the Devonport region until a breakdown sent him to Germany in 1889 to recuperate. There he attracted the notice of the Empress Victoria, daughter of England's Queen Victoria, who invited Clemens to become organist at St. George's Royal Chapel. He also taught at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatorium and married a young English widow living in Berlin. In 1895 Clemens came to Cleveland to become organist of ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH. He began teaching courses in harmony and music history at WRU's College for Women (later Flora Stone Mather College) in 1899, several years after the lapse of the school's affiliation with the Cleveland Conservatory of Music. Clemens instituted weekly Vesper Services at Harkness Chapel and also, despite the frowns of conservative faculty members, worked Gilbert and Sullivan excerpts into the concerts of the Mather Glee Club. Upon its completion in 1911, he became music director at the CHURCH OF THE COVENANT. Clemens also served on the faculty of the Cleveland School of Music and as conductor of the SINGERS CLUB. Awarded the degree of Doctor of Music in 1915, he became professor emeritus at CWRU upon his retirement in 1929. He was survived by his wife, Alice, and 3 stepdaughters.