Edward Clark, President of the UK Sibelius Society

Edward Clark, President of the UK Sibelius Society

Edward Clark was converted to classical music at the age of 13 by his violin teacher at Haileybury College. This was also the same year that the Beatles hit the world stage and he retains a love for both. His teacher, David Thompson, performed the concertos by Beethoven and Sibelius and was instrumental in introducing Sibelius to Edward. A year later the BBC visited him at school for an interview after he had requested a performance of the Third Symphony for broadcast that evening. As luck would have it the symphony was relayed during the weekly music class!

He studied conducting under Maurice Miles in his twenties and later with Matthew Taylor, celebrating his 50th birthday conducting works by Sibelius and Mozart in London. His career was in the global financial markets, travelling the world with Citibank NA. Later he became an executive search director before establishing his own search firm which he named after his mother’s maiden name, Tallis and Thomas Tallis, the great Reformation English composer. He was a council member of the London Symphony Orchestra for four years in the 1990’s, helping the orchestra to raise funds for the Tender is the North Festival, London in 1992. His efforts covered the cost of the Sibelius symphony cycle conducted by Sir Colin Davis.

Edward became President of the UK Sibelius Society in 1990. He was awarded the Sibelius Medal in 1992 and was appointed, by the Finnish government, Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland in 2018 for services to Sibelius and Finnish music.

In retirement he has travelled widely to promote the music of Sibelius and Finnish composers. He gives lectures and produces seminars in Great Britain and elsewhere. He has produced three Festivals of British Music in St Petersburg and the first Padstow Festival, celebrating Sir Malcolm Arnold and Sir John Betjeman, both of whom were residents there. In addition, he has been invited to become Manager to four English composers: Sir Malcolm Arnold, Matthew Taylor, Edward Gregson and David Matthews.

The Sibelius society’s first concert, held in London in 1992 performed the then rare Six Humoresques for Violin and Orchestra along with the Third Symphony. Later the society produced what is still probably the only recital in London dedicated to the songs of Sibelius, held at the Wigmore Hall, London with the great Finnish baritone, Jorma Hynninen. Many concerts have been held with the cooperation of the Finnish Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Helsinki. Sibelius’s works are often contrasted with works by contemporary composers who admire his music and who are influenced by it. It is a long list. In 1998 he organised a two-day seminar, The Forest’s mighty God, with guest speakers from Finland, Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain. Other contributors included composers, biographers and performers.

He was Chairman of the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra and raised funds to perform Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, The Music of Dawn by David Matthews (a Unilever commission), Robert Simpson’s Fifth Symphony and other large-scale works.

He was Chairman of the Barnes Music Society, helping to rescue it from bankruptcy with imaginative and attractive programmes. In this role he became a founder committee member for the Barnes Music Festival in which he programmed premieres by Robert Still and Jim Parker.

His private commissions include works by Sir John Tavener, David Matthews, Matthew Taylor and a 40 Part Motet by Markus Tristan Heathcock.

Edward has written Sibelius Reflections, to express his admiration and love for Sibelius and to publish the many articles he has written for the society Newsletter. He includes a full biography of Sibelius with many less well-known aspects included. He has overseen various publications and CDs made available through the society.