Clarence Mader, organist, teacher and composer, began his musical career at eleven as organist in the Easton, Pennsylvania church where his father was pastor. He became organist of the Holliston Avenue Church in Pasadena and won the Associate Certificate of the American Guild of Organists in 1924. His outstanding talent attracted the interest of the legendary Lynnwood Farnam with whom he studied in New York City in 1926-27.
In 1929 Mader was appointed organist at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. As organist for 37 years he helped develop a church music program of outstanding stature. World-renowned organists were among the students of Clarence Mader. In addition to extensive private teaching, he headed the organ department at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1955-1968.
Clarence Mader's service to the American Guild of Organists (AGO) was far-reaching - California State Chairman for six years, Dean of the Los Angeles Chapter, Program Chairman for the 1962 National Convention and National Councillor. He performed at national conventions, festivals and church music workshops. Active in the choral field, he was a founder and first president of the Choral Conductors Guild of California, now known as the National Association of Church Musicians.
His compositions reflect a masterly grasp of diverse music styles and the indispensable gift of inspiration. Vision of St. Stephen, a sacred opera first performed in 1953, and Concerto for Organ, premiered in 1968, illustrate the broad range of his compositions. The Fifth Mystery, a choral work employing serial techniques, stands as a reminder of his abilities both as poet and as composer.
In later years he worked toward AGO sponsorship of the publication and recording of contemporary organ music. His creative energies were still involved in teaching, but he spent increasing time composing. His knowledge of organ history and design was comprehensive, and he was in great demand as an advisor.
Considered by family, friends and colleagues to have been a true renaissance man, Mader painted over 40 pieces of art and composed more than 70 pieces of poetry during his later life. Examples of his work are interspersed across this site (courtesy of George Mader).
Ruth Goodrich Mader
Ruth Goodrich Mader, also an organist, substituted for Clarence shortly after they were married when he studied in New York City. After their sons had grown, Ruth was organist for several churches, including the Westwood Presbyterian Church in California. She also taught organ and piano. A fine artist and craftsman, she perfected extensive skills in stichery, collage, painting and sculpture.