Clifton Harrison

Clifton Harrison…
viola & viola d’amore player…researcher & collaborator

American viola and viola d’amore player Clifton Harrison has performed as a chamber musician, recitalist, and in orchestras throughout Europe, the United States, Central America, and Asia. He is the viola player in the acclaimed Kreutzer Quartet with whom he has recorded extensively. As a member of the quartet Clifton has been artist-in-residence at Goldsmiths, Southampton, and Bath Spa University with close ties to the Royal Northern College of Music and Oxford University.

Parallel to his quartet duties, Clifton regularly gives masterclasses, workshops, and lectures worldwide.  An avid freelance viola player, Clifton has worked with many UK ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, London Chamber Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Rambert Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, and most of London’s period performance ensembles. Clifton also records regularly for film and television. He has toured worldwide with countless classical ensembles as well as performed with popular artists as wide ranging as Björk, Laura Mvula, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, David Rodigan & the Outlook Orchestra, Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Mumford & Sons. Clifton has been heard in festivals throughout the world, from the muddy fields of Glastonbury to the EFG London Jazz Festival, Ghent Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, and London’s BBC Proms.


“…beautiful tone and expressive technical facility.”

- The Times

As a researcher, Clifton focuses on two distinct areas: Seventeenth and eighteenth century viola d’amore music from the Germanic region, and Black and Minority Ethnic classical and contemporary composers/sound artists.

Clifton is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, America'‘s oldest and most prestigious boarding school for the arts. This was followed by studies at the Juilliard School with Dorothy Delay (violin) and Karen Tuttle (viola) and at the Royal Academy of Music with Yuko Inoue (modern viola) and Jane Rogers (baroque viola).

In 2019, the Governing Body and the Honours Committee of the Royal Academy of Music elected Clifton Harrison Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM). This honour is awarded to a select number of former students who have made a significant contribution to the music profession.

Recent releases are on the Hyperion, Universal Music, Sony, NAXOS, Warner Music, Navona Records, NMC Records, Métier, and Signum Classics labels. 

Find out more about my viola d’amore and its maker here.

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Writing & Projects


Identity & Aesthetic

February 2019

Five Caribbean-British women communicate their lives, stories, and identities through composition…

A five-part series for Sound and Music and the British Music Collection that look at the relationship between Identity and Aesthetic. This project explores the lives, creative minds, and selected works of five British-Caribbean composers.  They are Eleanor Alberga, Hannah Catherine Jones (aka Foxy Moron), Hannah Kendall, Prof. Shirley J. Thompson OBE, and Errollyn Wallen MBE. Spanning the breadth of today’s active living composers, they range from baby boomers to millennials, each having a distinctive understanding of their culture and its impact on their work.  

Click here or the button below to watch the interviews on the British Music Collection website.

Watch the series on YouTube


Strings Magazine

July/August 2018

Violist Clifton Harrison on the Timeless Qualities of Ives’ String Quartet No. 2

Excerpt -
Ives’ Second Quartet is a work of conversation, discussion, argument, and reconciliation. Ives himself described it as such. I see it as an abstract expression of human interaction using language that is quintessentially modern. Each of the three movements is different in style and feel, yet they are connected by similar grammar and expression. This work is filled with character, musical quotes, jokes, and commentary that transcend time and era. “


Graupner Project…

AUTUMN/Winter 2019

Viola d’amore and composer Christoph Graupner (1683-1760). The viola d’amore that I use plays a very important role in my research. It was made for me by Jonathan Hill.


More information coming soon…











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