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Thiman was born in Ashford, Kent. Largely self-taught, he was awarded an FRCO in 1921, and a DMus in 1928. From 1930 he was Professor of Harmony at the Royal Academy of Music and later, from 1956 to 1962, was Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of London. From 1958, having moved from Park Chapel (a Congregational Church in Crouch End, later to join with Ferme Park Baptist Church to form a Union Church in the same district, currently (2011) pastored by a professionally qualified pianist), he was organist of the City Temple in London, a Congregational Church. He was a keen advocate of amateur music-making and in the 1960s was the conductor and Musical Director of the Purley Choral Society, performing his 'Spring Garland' in 1964. The choir changed its name to The Chandos Choir in 1969, they performed his 'Go, Lovely Rose' in 2012. He wrote much educational music for piano and other instruments, as well as music for church choirs, some of which is still performed. He is best remembered for his short passion cantata, "The Last Supper" (1930) which sets texts from the gospels of Matthew and John and hymns by St Thomas Aquinas, Charles Wesley and Johann Franck.
Thiman's list of published works numbers about 1,300. These include a large number of partsongs (many for SS or SSA and piano, but also many for SATB) and many anthems and carols. Most of his church music was written for the non-conformist churches, but he also wrote anthems and canticles for Church of England Choirs.
He composed some lighter songs under the name Eric Harding (Harding being his middle name), one of which was published when he was only fifteen.
He was conductor of the Elysian Concert Society that performed at Hornsey Town Hall, The City Temple and other venues in London, and died in 1975.
An archive of his music, The Eric Thiman Collection, was set up in 2014 in the choir library of Southwell Minster.
- External link to Musicweb International
- UGA Men's Glee Club perform Eric Thiman's composition, "She Is My Slender Small Love"
- on YouTube
- External link to Southwell Minster Website
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