George H. Clutsam

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ca. 1919 portrait of Clutsam George H. Clutsam.jpg
ca. 1919 portrait of Clutsam

George Howard Clutsam (26 September 1866 17 November 1951) was an Australian pianist, composer and writer, best remembered as the arranger of Lilac Time . Clutsam published over 150 songs.



Clutsam was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. His career began as a pianist, at which he had little formal training. After establishing himself in Australia and New Zealand, he moved to London in 1889, where he continued as an accompanist to various artists including his fellow Australian Nellie Melba in 1893. From 1895 he increasingly moved to arrangement and composition of orchestral works and light opera.

From 1888, [1] Clutsam frequently shared the stage as pianist with Australian singer Minna Fischer, [2] who was married to Herbert Flemming but separated with two sons. They were also paired or made a threesome with Amy Sherwin at social occasions such as the CrossleyMuecke wedding. [3] Clutsam and Fischer married quietly on 12 December 1908, [4] two months after the death of Flemming.

Between 1908 and 1918 he wrote music criticism for The Observer and "The Musical Times", while continuing to compose and arrange. In 1912, he wrote a biography of Franz Schubert. As well as the many stage works, he wrote numerous songs, including the popular "Ma Curly-Headed Babby". Later he became Vice-Chairman of the Performing Right Society. He also wrote music for the silent cinema, and subsequently also composed for the "talkies".

Clutsam published under a number of pseudonyms, namely Paul Aubry, Robert Harrington, H.S. Iseledon, Georges Latour and Ch.G. Mustal.

He died in London in 1951 at the age of 85.

Selected musicals and other works

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  1. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald . New South Wales, Australia. 13 October 1888. p. 2. Retrieved 25 May 2020 via Trove.
  2. "Musical Notes". The Express and Telegraph . South Australia. 20 October 1894. p. 6. Retrieved 25 May 2020 via Trove.
  3. "The Ada Crossley-Muecke Wedding". The Observer (Adelaide) . South Australia. 20 May 1905. p. 7. Retrieved 25 May 2020 via Trove.
  4. "Personal Notes from London". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) . New South Wales, Australia. 21 January 1909. p. 5. Retrieved 25 May 2020 via Trove.