Arlidge, Joseph Churchill

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Arlidge, Joseph Churchill

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J. (Joseph) Churchill Arlidge, flutist, organist, teacher, and composer, was born in Stratford-on-Avon, England on March 17, 1849, and died in Toronto, Ontario on January 22, 1913. Arlidge studied flute with Benjamin Wells and Robert Sydney Pratten, and made his debut in 1859 at the Crystal Palace in a concert given by Sir Julius Benedict for Queen Victoria. He continued to perform in London and studied with George Rudall (flute) and James Coward (piano and organ), before enrolling in the Brussels Conservatory, where he studied with Jacques-Nicholas Lemmens (piano and organ) and Oluf Svendsen (flute). In 1873 or 1874, he appeared as a solo flutist in Gilmore's 22nd New York Regiment Band. In late 1874 he moved to Toronto, where he married Olivia Mary Arlidge.

In Toronto, he performed as a solo flutist with F.H. Torrington, was the first organist and choirmaster at Toronto's Carlton Street Methodist Church, and taught. In late 1875, he returned to England for a teaching position, but returned in 1885 to participate in the First Toronto Musical Festival, from which point he settled permanently with his family in the Toronto area. He served as organist and choirmaster at the Carlton Street Methodist Church, as well as Christ Church Deer Park, Bonar Presbyterian, and St. John the Evangelist. He also continued to appear as a flutist with the Toronto Philharmonic Society, and as accompaniment for singers, including Emma Calve, Marcella Sembrich, Lilli Lehmann and Emma Albani. In the late 1880s, he established the Toronto Flute Quartet with his students Lubraico, J.B. Glionna and Herbert Lye.

Arlidge also taught music at the Toronto College of Music and the Toronto Conservatory of Music, and in 1902, established his own school the Toronto Academy of Music, following controversy with Torrington and Edward Fisher regarding the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (1899). Arlidge was also a composer, although most of his compositions are unpublished.

In the Toronto community, Arlidge was also involved with the YMCA, the Independent Order of Foresters (IOF), and was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Saint George's Society. He was also a member of the newly-formed Canadian Guild of Organists.


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Updated November 7, 2019.




J. Churchill Arlidge. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Last edited December 16, 2013.

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