Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pip Clarke

Pip Clarke is a British violinist and teacher who, although concertizing all over the world, has been living in the U.S. since 1990.  She is known for playing in a very Romantic and expressive manner and is frequently compared to legendary violinists Ruggiero Ricci, Jascha Heifetz, and Tossy Spivakovsky.  Her tone has been described as haunting and her style as breathtakingly romantic, though that description might be far too limiting.  She also has in her repertoire a work which is a particular favorite of mine – the Bruch second concerto in d minor, which is seldom played nowadays.  Clarke is also one of only two violinists I know of who does not have a website – Silvia Marcovici is the other.  She has appeared with over 70 orchestras in the U.S. alone and has appeared in recital in the most important venues in Canada, Asia, and Europe.  Clarke began her music studies on the piano at age 5 (in Manchester, England) and her violin studies (with Ruth Parker) two years later.  For six years she studied with Roger Raphael at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, then with Lydia Mordkovitch (pupil of David Oistrakh) at the Royal Northern College of Music and later still with David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music in London.  Her public debut was at age 16 at the South Bank Center in London.  She embarked on her very busy career upon graduation and has been concertizing ever since.  Clarke also appeared on British television with English composer and conductor Michael Tippett.  Her American debut took place on October 27, 2007 at Carnegie Hall with the Korngold concerto.  Although her repertoire encompasses all of the standard concertos, she is especially lauded by critics for her interpretations of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, and the Walton, Korngold, Goldmark, and Dvorak violin concertos.  Reviewing a recent CD release, a well-known critic said: “She blazes impetuously with plenty of dash and brio...she’s no mere purveyor of bland, unruffled, unengaged precision.”  Of her first CD release, Musical Opinion (the oldest classical music journal in England) wrote that it included “one of the most compelling accounts on record of Chausson’s Poeme.”  One of her most recent recordings is of Lee Actor’s brilliant and unabashedly romantic violin concerto, a work commissioned especially for her.  You can listen to it here.  As almost all concert artists now do today, Clarke participates in music festivals far and wide, including the well-known Ravinia Music Festival near Chicago.  Clarke also gives master classes in the U.S. and Europe.  In recital and in recordings, her accompanists have usually been pianists Sandra Rivers (accompanist of Sarah Chang as well), Scott Holshouser, and (composer-pianist) Marcelo Cessena.  Clarke has played violins by Joseph Guarnerius and Matteo Goffriller, but her present violin is a modern (1983) violin by Sergio Peresson.  Other musicians who own or have owned Peresson’s instruments include Yehudi Menuhin, Pinchas Zukerman, Isaac Stern, Norman Carol, Jaime Laredo, Eugene Fodor, Ivan Galamian, Mstislav Rostropovich, and Jaqueline du Pre.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might recall that Peresson was a Philadelphia violin maker (luthier) whose instruments were in so much demand, he had to stop taking orders for violins in 1982.  As far as I know, their sound is indistinguishable from the very best Stradivarius or Guarnerius violins. 


  1. Ms Clarke's sisters are also musicians - one is a French Horn player and the other a String Bass player. Her Grandfather also played Bass.

  2. She is fabulous! I love her music and as I try to play the violin, I try to emulate her sounds. I'm not even close though! I do use the same violin pad as she does though! Haha thanks for your post!

    1. Well, you wouldn't be able to emulate her sounds, would you? You have not had the same musical 'grooming'! (ho,ho). Read the article posted by Avon below.

  3. Chris Ling update:

  4. And she has has also been groomed by a predator whom she married and has been suffering Stockholm syndrome ever since (at best) or she is a mercenary self-serving witness to the past abuses of her husband (at worst) and ought to step forward about it!

  5. Sorry to say, her husband just shot himself: