James Hamilton Smee Clarke (25 January 1840 – 9 July 1912), was an English conductor, composer and organist born in Birmingham.
He began playing the piano at age four, violin at eight and played in an orchestra at twelve. In the same year, he became the organist at his church and was composing music by age 19. His parents did not approve of his taking music up as a profession, and he was sent to work first with an analytical chemist and then with a land surveyor.
Clarke began as an organist, pianist and theatre conductor, becoming a musical director for Gilbert and Sullivan, among others. While conducting at London theatres, he also composed a tremendous volume of church music, organ solos, songs, operettas and orchestral works.
In 1862 he held organist posts in Ireland and was also first violin in the Dublin Phil Orchestra. After 1866 he held positions at Llandaff Cathedral and later at Queens College Oxford where he also played the Clarinet. He wrote over 400 compositions.
In 1889, Clarke went to Australia, succeeding Frederick Cowen as conductor of the Victorian National Orchestra in Melbourne. He did not enjoy Melbourne; after returning to England in 1892, he gave a talk describing his experiences which were not good.
Clarke was forced to retire around 1901 because of failing eyesight. In later life, Clarke suffered from health problems that affected his mind. Clarke had 'brilliant gifts but sadly like some other musicians suffered from depression and ended his days in a lunatic asylum.
Clarke died at Banstead Asylum in Surrey in 1912, aged 72.
Also in IMSLP by Clarke is a Pastroale and Romance for organ.
Score attached below.