Alan Hacker

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Alan Ray Hacker OBE FRAM (30 September 1938 – 16 April 2012) was an English clarinetist and professor of the Royal Academy of Music.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1938, the son of Kenneth and Sybil Hacker.[1] After attending Dulwich College (from 1950 to 1955), he went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music where he won the Dove Prize and the Boise Travelling Scholarship which he used to study in Paris, Bayreuth and Vienna.[2] In 1959 he married Anna Maria Sroka with whom he had two daughters and a son.[1]

In 1966, a thrombosis on his spinal column caused permanent paraplegia.[3] For the rest of his life he used a wheelchair and drove adapted cars.


In 1958 he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra.[1] He became a professor of the Royal Academy of Music in 1960 and went on to found the Pierrot Players in 1965 along with Stephen Pruslin and Harrison Birtwistle which in 1972 became the Fires of London.[2] In 1971 he founded his own group, Matrix.[1] He was also appointed chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Music section and of the British section of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He was one of those credited with reviving the basset clarinet and in 1967 he restored the original text of Mozart's Concerto and Quintet. He played them on an instrument modelled on that for which Mozart originally wrote them, the Stadler's extended basset clarinet.

Hacker also founded the Music Party in 1972, an organisation set up for the authentic performance of classical music. The later establishment of the Classical Orchestra in York was also a vehicle which promoted the performances of the classics on original instruments.[2]

Among his most acclaimed performances are the six staged performances of Bach’s St John Passion in the Bach/Handel centennial year in Venice and a guest appearance at the Schwetzingen Festival, and British performances of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera. He also conducted four Mozart operatic productions in Mozart’s centennial year.[2]

In the 1972-1973 academic year he became the Sir Robert Mayer lecturer at Leeds University.[1] In 1976 he was appointed lecturer in music at the University of York and went on to hold a post of senior lecturer between 1984 and 1987.[2]

He was awarded the OBE for his services to music.

In 1994 he was a guest on Desert Island Discs.[4]


He died on Monday, 16 April 2012[5]


  • Scores of Mozart Concerto and Quintet - 1972
  • 1st ed. of reconstructed Mozart Concerto - 1973

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Who’s Who 1975, page 1302, (A&C Black: London)
  2. ^ a b c d e Dulwich College Old Alleynians : Eminent Old Alleynians : Music
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ Article by Norman Lebrecht: "The clarinet mourns: Hacker is gone"