John Clapham / Musicologist

John Clapham (Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England; July 31, 1908 - Stanton Drew, Somerset, England; November 9, 1992) was an English writer and musicologist.


John Clapham was the second of three children of Edith Maud Taylor (1875-1956) and John Clapham (1870-1947), a Hertfordshire stockbroker.

He was the grandson of John Clapham (1824-1902) and Emily Ann Porter. Great-grandson of John Clapham (1779-1861) and Honor Dennis de Penzance (c.1785-1826). Great-great-grandson of John Clapham (1749-1829) and Hannah Lumb (1746-1813), and fifth generation of Robert Lumb and Hannah Foster (1720-1809).

He married Katharine Benham (1911-1962) and together they had 4 children.


After studying the cello with Douglas Cameron and harmony and counterpoint with Macpherson at the RAM (1927-31) he became an external student of George Oldroyd at London University, where he took the BMus (1934) and the DMus (1946).

He studied the cello privately with Ivor James and the double bass with Eugene Cruft (1937-9) before working as a programme engineer at the BBC (1939-41).

After the war he was lecturer at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth (1946-62) and a member of the University College of Wales Ensemble (1946-59), and senior lecturer (1962-9) and reader at Edinburgh University. 

Clapham's scholarly career as an expert on Dvořák began comparatively late but was pursued devotedly into advanced age. 

His two books and many articles on the composer make available in English the fruits of Šourek's large-scale biography as well as presenting Clapham's own particular interest in sketch research and historical studies of Dvořák's time in England and America.