ALTHOUGH CLARE IS now a viola player, she started out as a violinist. She doesn’t claim to be the kind of infant prodigy who held a violin in her hand at three years old and dazzled the world with her virtuosity a month later. Indeed, like many young performers, she developed her instrumental playing slowly and by an individual route, helped a great deal by early encouragement and enjoyment of the music.
Many musicians who take up the viola actually start out as violin-players. Austrian music-critic Hans Keller (born 1919) once complained that there was no such career as a 'viola-player', as it was just an extension of violin playing. When he was young this might have been true, but nowadays the viola is an instrument with an expanding repertoire that, in a performer’s adult years, takes up all her attention to learn and perfect.
Clare here talks about how she started playing the violin and about her early lessons.