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Clifton Parker

Clifton Parker (5 February 1905 – 2 September 1989) was an English composer, particularly noted for his film scores.

Edward John Clifton Parker was born on 5 February 1905 in London, the youngest son of a bank manager. He was encouraged by his father to go into commerce but studied music privately and composed his first published work, Romance for violin and piano, when aged sixteen. In 1924, he decided to divide his names—to use 'Edward John' for lighter compositions and 'Clifton Parker' for more serious compositions. However, he never used the former. He obtained an ARCM diploma in piano teaching at the Royal Academy of Music in 1926 and abandoned his career in commerce and became a music copyist.

By the mid 1930s he was achieving success with some of his classical pieces and managed to get his work accepted for broadcast on the BBC, work such as In a Twilight Dim with Rose. He came to the attention of Muir Mathieson, one of the music pioneers of the British film industry. His early film compositions were uncredited, including the 1942 Noël Coward film In Which We Serve and it was only with his 1944 score for Western Approaches that his name finally attracted attention.

The 1950s were a prolific period, with Parker composing for many mediums, especially film. However, in 1963 he was one of three composers, the others being William Alwyn and Franz Reizenstein, who abandoned scoring film music in protest of the exorbitant percentage of royalties taken by the publishers.

Parker was married twice. His second wife, Yoma Sasburg, was principal dancer in a number of his ballet productions. He was the father of Julia Clifton Parker, better known as writer Julia Stoneham. He was inactive for the final 13 years of his life owing to ulcers and emphysema, and he died on 2 September 1989, aged 84, in Marlow.

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