Manuscripts, oral history and pictures catalogue
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  • Title
    Enith Clarke papers, 1924-1989, with additional material compiled by Susan Compton, ca.1998-2006
  • Creator
  • Call number
    MLMSS 8012
  • Level of description
  • Date

  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    0.53 metres of textual material (1 box and 1 large folder)

    Enith Clarke (1911–1995), pianist, was born in Rockhampton and studied piano and music theory with Mrs Florence A. Sandberg. Showing early promise, she also had lessons from Paderewski and Backhaus when they toured Australia. Clarke moved to Sydney in the late 1920s to study music with Alexander Sverjensky at the Alfred Hill Academy of Music. She then transferred with Sverjensky to the NSW State Conservatorium of Music. She married Sverjensky in 1943 in the presence of Roy Agnew and Frank Hutchens, played in concerts with ABC orchestras and did radio broadcasts. Regarded as one Australia's foremost pianists of the time, her playing was much admired by Neville Cardus and Eugene Goossens. Claudio Arrau recommended that she go abroad to study with Alfred Cortot in Switzerland, which she did in 1948. This was followed by lessons from Walter Gieseking in Paris. She also performed for Radio Diffusion Francaise and played Roy Agnew’s music at the Australian Embassy in Paris. Sverjensky divorced Clarke in 1951. She married again and became Mrs Enith Compton. She taught piano at various schools including Abbotsleigh and Meriden in Sydney in the 1960s and early 70s, returning to Queensland in later life.

    Alexander Sverjensky (1901-1971) taught piano at the NSW State Conservatorium from 1938 to 1969. He was one of the greatest piano teachers of his generation, promoting standards of virtuosity and precision far from characteristic in Australia at the time. His students included Roger Woodward, Malcolm Williamson, Richard Farrell, Romola Costantino and others who went on to notable careers.

    Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003) entered the NSW State Conservatorium at the age of 11 to study piano, French horn and, later, composition with Sir Eugene Goossens. He left Australia in 1953 and was Master of the Queen’s Music from 1975 to 2003.

    Compiled from the collection
    The Oxford Companion to Australian Music / edited by Warren Bebbington. Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Scope and Content
    BOX 1:
    1. Personal papers, 1936-1988, including Prospectus (1936) for Alfred Hill Academy of Music, certified copy of marriage registration, documents for travel to Europe in 1948, recital sheets for ABC broadcasts, and employment references. Correspondents include Richard Bonynge, Roland Foster and George Farwell.

    2. Letters (7) received from Malcolm Williamson, 1983-1989, in which he talks about his current work schedule and compositions, the first of his strokes which hampered his piano playing, and Enith Clarke's musical talents and skills. Other musicians mentioned include Nancy Salas, Alexander Sverjensky, Nancy Weir, Kevin Power, Roger Woodward, Olga Krasnick, Clive Amadio, Barbara Bennett, Michael Leighton-Jones, Kath Walker, Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge.

    3. Autobiography 'Triumphs and treachery' by Enith Clarke, undated, covering the period from birth until her divorce from Sverjensky. Typed and edited by Diane Selmon (39 pages).

    4. Newscuttings collected concerning Enith Carke:
    Loose cuttings, 1936-1974 and undated.
    Scrapbook, 1936-1947 and undated.

    5. Concert programs featuring Enith Clarke, 1938-1958 and undated

    6. Sverjensky's exercises handwritten on music manuscript paper, being technical exercises, fingering for scales and comments by Sverjensky as Clarke's piano teacher.

    7. Photographs (17), 1914-ca.1950
    Mainly of Enith Clarke, but also including Alexander Sverjensky, Ena Woodeson, Artur Schnabel (signed), Eileen Joyce and Neville Cardus (signed, Christmas 1947).

    8. Research papers compiled by Susan Compton (daughter), ca.1998-2006:
    Copies of police papers regarding birth and adoption of Enith Compton (1911), copy of Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (1995), copies of documents from Conservatoire de Lausanne, ABC and BBC archives (1948-1958), letters from Mary Hooker, Dagmar Hunstead, Margaret Barton Stefanato, Tamara Finch (nee Tchinarova), Muriel Cohen and Ena Sorgato (nee Woodeson).

    FOLDER 2:
    1. Honours Certificate in Pianoforte Playing, Advanced Intermediate Section, London College of Music, 24 Oct. 1924, pupil of Mrs F.A. Sandberg
    2. Pupil's Certificate, Honours, in Theory of Music, Advanced Junior Division, Trinity College of Music London, Dec. 1924, pupil of Mrs F.A. Sandberg
    3. Pupil's Certificate, Honours, in Theory of Music, Intermediate Division, Trinity College of Music London, Dec. 1925, pupil of Mrs F.A. Sandberg
    4. Pupil's Certificate, Honours, in Theory of Music, Advanced Intermediate Division, Trinity College of Music London, Dec. 1926, pupil of Mrs F.A. Sandberg
    5. Associate Diploma for Pianoforte Playing, London College of Music, 21 Oct. 1926, pupil of Mrs F.A. Sandberg
    6. Special Certificate in Pianoforte, Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, 15 Nov. 1926
    7. Honours Certificate, Theory of Music Grade IV, Australian Music Examination Board, 1929, pupil of Florence Sandberg
    8. Certificate, Theory of Music Grade III, Australian Music Examination Board, 1930, pupil of Florence Sandberg

    (described in separate item-level record)
  • Source
    Purchased from Susan Compton, November 2007
  • Access Conditions

    This material is held offsite and can take up to four days to retrieve.
  • Copying Conditions
    Copyright status:: In copyright - This collection has multiple rights owners
    Copyright status:: Photographs in this collection created before 1955 are all out of copyright. Photographs created after 1955 are in copyright for the life of creator plus 70 years.
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