September 19: Henry Clough-Leighter (1956)

Henry Clough-Leighter was an American composer, organist, and musical editor. He was born in Washington, D.C.; the son of James Henry Leighter and Sarah Katherine (Humphries) Leighter. The name Clough was given as an agnomen (additional name) at his baptism to perpetuate a family name. Clough-Leighter took charge of Epiphany’s music at the age of 18; first at Epiphany’s chapel in SW Washington and then for seven years at the parish church. During this time, Henry married Mary Mason Mitchell at the chapel. Henry Clough-Leighter’s first person account of his career is as follows.

“I was educated privately and at Columbian University, Washington [now GWU] 1887-9. At thirteen obtained scholarship at the latter university, but relinquished it to give my whole time to the study of music. Pupil of Trinity University, Toronto, Canada, in preparation for musical degree. Studied harmony, counterpoint and composition under Dr. Edward Kimball, Dr. George Walter, Henry Xander (of Stuttgart Conservatory, Germany), and Dr. J. Humphrey Anger, of Oxford, England. Piano study began at age of five, under my mother’s instruction – an English gentlewoman of exceptional refinement of mind, high intellectual attainments, and an excellent musicianship. From the age of nine to twelve solo chorister in St. John’s Church, Washington. At thirteen began organ study under Dr. George Walter, formerly organist of Trinity Church, New York. At fourteen, organist of St. Michael’s and All Angels, Washington. At fifteen organist of the Church of the Incarnation. At eighteen organist and choirmaster of Epiphany Chapel. From 1892 to 1899 organist and choirmaster of Epiphany Parish, and also the Jewish Synagogue; from 1899 to 1900, organist and choirmaster of Grace Church, Providence, R.I.; 1900 to 1901 organist and choirmaster of Christ Church and supervisor of the music courses in the schools of Westerly, R.I. During the same year Instructor of Musical Theory in the Howe School of Music, Boston; 1901 to 1908 Associate Editor on the editorial staff of the Oliver Ditson Co., Boston. Since 1908 to the present time music editor of the Boston Music Co., Boston, Mass. Since 1901 to the present time organist of the First Congregational Church, Milton, Mass.”

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