World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Clive Wearing

Clive Wearing
Born (1938-05-11) 11 May 1938
United Kingdom
Genres Early music
Occupation(s) Musicologist, conductor and keyboardist

Clive Wearing (11 May 1938) is a British musicologist, conductor, tenor and keyboardist who suffers from chronic anterograde and retrograde amnesia. He lacks the ability to form new memories, and also cannot recall aspects of his past memories, frequently believing that he has only recently awoken from a coma.


  • Musical career 1
  • Amnesia 2
  • Reports 3
  • See also 4
    • Other neurological trauma/damage cases 4.1
    • Other areas 4.2
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Musical career

Clive Wearing is an accomplished musician, and is known for editing the works of Orlande de Lassus. Wearing sang at Westminster Cathedral as a tenor lay clerk for many years and also had a successful career as a chorus master and worked as such at Covent Garden and with the London Sinfonietta Chorus.

In 1968 he founded the Europa Singers of London, an amateur choir specialising in music of the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries. It won critical approval especially for performances of the Monteverdi Vespers. In 1977 it gave the first performance in the Russian Cathedral of Sir John Tavener's setting of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom with Roderick Earle as bass soloist, and subsequently made a recording (Ikon Records No. 9007). The Europa Singers also competed in the XXXII Concorso Polifonico Internazionale in Arezzo in 1984, and provided choruses for operas staged by the London Opera Centre, including Lully's Alceste and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, which was performed at Sadler's Wells.

Wearing also organised The London Lassus Ensemble, designing and staging the 1982 London Lassus Festival to commemorate the composer's 450th Anniversary.

Whilst working at the BBC, Wearing was made responsible for the musical content of Radio 3 for much of 29 July 1981, the day of the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer. For that occasion, he chose to recreate, with authentic instruments and meticulously researched scores, the Bavarian royal wedding which took place in Munich on 22 February 1568. The music by Lassus, Padovano, de'Bardi, Palestrina, Gabrieli, Tallis, etc., was performed by the Taverner Consort, Choir and Players, and the Natural Trumpet Ensemble of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, conducted by Andrew Parrott. This was arguably the high point of his career as a musical researcher.


On 27 March 1985, Wearing, then an acknowledged expert in early music at the height of his career with BBC Radio 3, contracted Herpesviral encephalitis- a Herpes simplex virus that attacked his central nervous system.[1] Since this point, he has been unable to store new memories. He has also been unable to control emotions (stable mood) and to associate memories effectively.

Wearing developed a profound case of total amnesia as a result of his illness. Because of damage to the

  • magazine on Clive Wearing, January 2005The ObserverArticle in
  • , September 2007The New YorkerArticle in
  • The Man with the 7 Second Memory at the Internet Movie Database

External links

  1. ^ Wearing, Deborah (12 January 2005). "The man who keeps falling in love with his wife". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  2. ^
  3. ^ BBC
  4. ^ The Mind, BBC series, Part 1
  5. ^ The Mind, BBC series, Part 2
  6. ^ Wearing, Deborah (2005). Forever today: a memoir of love and amnesia. Corgi.  


Other areas

Other neurological trauma/damage cases

See also

Wearing's story was also featured on an episode of the TLC series Medical Incredible.

Sam Kean also discussed Wearing's life in the twelfth chapter of his 2014 book, The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons.

Oliver Sacks wrote about Wearing in a chapter in his 2007 book, Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, and an article in The New Yorker titled "The Abyss".

He appears in Dr. Eric Kandel's holiday lectures on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which can be found here.

His story was also told in episode No. 304 – "Memory and Forgetting" on the show Radio Lab on New York Public Radio, WNYC. The show is available on-line at WNYC – Radio Lab and via podcast through iTunes.

He also appears in the 2006 documentary series Time, where his case is used to illustrate the effect of losing one's perception of time.

He was also featured in the 1988 PBS series, The Mind, in Episode 1, In Search of the Mind.

His story was told in a 1986 documentary entitled Equinox: Prisoner of Consciousness, in which he was interviewed by Jonathan Miller. An updated story was told in the 2005 ITV documentary The Man with the 7 Second Memory (although Wearing's short term memory span can be up to 30 seconds).

Wearing's wife Deborah has written a book about her husband's case entitled Forever Today.[6]


Wearing can learn new practices and even a very few facts—not from episodic memory or encoding, but by acquiring new procedural memories through repetition. For example, having watched a certain video recording multiple times on successive days, he never had any memory of ever seeing the video or knowing the contents, but he was able to anticipate certain parts of the content without remembering how he learned them.[5]

Earlier entries are usually crossed out, since he forgets having made an entry within minutes and dismisses the writings–he does not know how the entries were made or by whom, although he does recognise his own writing.[4] Wishing to record "waking up for the first time", he still wrote diary entries in 2007, more than two decades after he started them.

8:31 AM: Now I am really, completely awake.
9:06 AM: Now I am perfectly, overwhelmingly awake.
9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake.

In a diary provided by his caretakers, Clive was encouraged to record his thoughts. Page after page is filled with entries similar to the following:

Despite having frontal lobe. His brain is still trying to send information in the form of action potentials to neurostructures that no longer exist. The resulting encephalic electrical disturbance leads to fits.


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.