12th February 1868
11th November 1943
Herbert A. (Austin) Fricker was a Choir conductor, organist, teacher and composer.
He had lessons with the Canterbury Cathedral organist William H. Longhurst and was a chorister 1877-83 and assistant organist 1884-90 at the cathedral. He studied further in London with Frederick Bridge and Edwin Henry Lemare. After a time 1891-8 at Trinity Church, Folkstone, he moved to Leeds as city organist. There he founded and was the conductor 1900-17 of the Leeds Philharmonic and 1902-17 of the Leeds SO, was chorusmaster 1904-13 for the Leeds Festivals, and was organist at a succession of churches and schools. He also conducted choral societies in Bradford, Halifax, Dewsbury, and Morley.
Chosen by A.S. Vogt to be his successor as conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Fricker emigrated to Canada in August 1917. His first appearance with the choir, 18 Feb 1918 with the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski, initiated an association, 1918-25, which took both organizations across the US-Canadian border many times. Under Fricker's leadership the choir gave the Canadian premieres of Beethoven's Missa solemnis in 1927, Walton'sBelshazzar's Feast in 1936, and Berlioz' Requiem in 1938. Besides his Mendelssohn Choir duties, Fricker was organist-choirmaster 1917-43 at Metropolitan United Church, teacher of organ 1918-32 at the TCM, on staff at the University of Toronto, conductor 1922-34 of theCanadian National Exhibition Chorus, an active organ recitalist, an adjudicator at many competition festivals, and president 1925-6 of the CCO. He retired from the Mendelssohn Choir in 1942, conducting his favourite choral work, Bach's Mass in B Minor, at his farewell concert.