Clipper's Story

“One of the finest pianists of his generation… a consummate musician.”


Hailed for his unique calling to connect people with their humanity through the spiritual power of music, Clipper Erickson is passionate about sharing wonderful, yet less-performed music with audiences worldwide.  His artistry has won top international prizes, and he has headlined programs with orchestras and performed to critical acclaim in major concert halls.  An avid and respected educator, Erickson also delights in exploring under-represented musical works with listeners through commentary in a question-and-answer format.

Clipper’s performances and recordings bring interesting and under-appreciated voices to life.

In 2015 he released My Cup Runneth Over – the Complete Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett, a great African descent composer.  Gramophone UK honored the album as a critic’s choice and best album of the year, writing: “this historically and musically important release not only fills a crucial catalogue gap but sets reference standards. No serious aficionado of the history of American piano music can afford to miss it.”  His other albums have featured many premieres, as well as great masterpieces of the past.

Whether it’s Nathaniel Dett, the British composers Roger Quilter and Cyril Scott, his friend David Finko (a submarine designer and engineer for the Soviet Navy before becoming a composer), Joseph Lamb (an Irishman who had a textile business and wrote ragtime), or living jazz pianist and composer Laurie Altman, Clipper loves discovering creators that don’t fit the mold.

As a teacher, Clipper is dedicated to nurturing the love and understanding of music in his classes and private lessons at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton and Temple University.  He regularly gives master classes and performs in schools, encouraging and bringing out the gifts of future generations of musicians.

Teaching is central to Clipper’s life.

Clipper made his debut at age nineteen in Los Angeles as soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra.  The Los Angeles Times wrote: “He played with extraordinary dash and power and never let flamboyance obscure art.”  He pursued his studies at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University, training with the renowned British pianist John Ogdon.  Erickson has won top prizes at international competitions such as the Busoni and William Kapell, and performs as soloist with orchestras throughout the US, as well as recitalist in venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall, and Symphony Space in New York. 

Gramophone UK bestowed Clipper with their “Critic’s Choice” and “Best Album of the Year” for his album of works by African descent composer, R. Nathaniel Dett.

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