Stephen H Clapp

November 27, 1939January 26, 2014

Clapp, Dr. Stephen H.Dr. Stephen H. Clapp, Dean Emeritus of The Juilliard School, died peacefully in his Cos Cob home on the morning of January 26, 2014. Born in Tallman, NY to Robert and Dorothea Clapp on November 27, 1939, Stephen was predeceased by son Timothy Clapp, and is survived by his adoring wife Linda, daughter Amy Clapp Dye and son-in-law Martin Dye, sons Peter and Andrew Clapp, and grandchildren Kellan and Josephine Clapp. A graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory and The Juilliard School, violinist Stephen Clapp was awarded the first Naumberg Chamber Music Award with the Beaux-Arts String Quartet and the Josef Gingold Prize of the Cleveland Society for Strings. He served on the music faculty of George Peabody College for Teachers and Blair Academy in Nashville, TN; the Aspen Music Festival and School, Aspen, CO; The University of Texas at Austin, TX; Oberlin College Conservatory, Oberlin, OH; and The Juilliard School, New York, NY. He was dedicated to Christian lay ministry at Christ Church, Greenwich, St. John's Episcopal Church, Stamford, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Stephen touched the lives of students, colleagues, and friends through his abiding faith, generous spirit, and deeply artistic musical expression. The mother of two of his students wrote, "He taught them more than just violin, but life lessons about faith, joy and perseverance in the midst of adversity. He will continue to live in the hearts of many whom he has touched; his legacy will live on through his students."A funeral service of Holy Communion will be held Saturday, February 1 at 2 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, 628 Main St, Stamford, CT 06901. For directions and parking see In lieu of flowers and in celebration of Stephen Clapp's lifelong artistry and devotion to his students, his family requests support for the Stephen Clapp Memorial Violin Scholarship. Contributions should be made payable to The Juilliard School and sent to 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, or call (212) 799-5000 x692, or visit


  • Funeral Service of Holy Communion Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stephen H Clapp

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Dolores DAIGLE

July 23, 2014

I have just today learned of Stephen Clapp's untimely death. In the mid 1970s I drove from San Antonio where I was playing in the symphony up to Austin for lessons at UT. It's impossible to give enough credit to him for how he patiently untangled my playing technique and musical blockages. I continued studying with him at Aspen and I doubt I would have even gotten in otherwise. He coached me through auditions and setbacks and all 24 Paganini Caprices, until I came to the Oregon Symphony as Asst Principal 2nd in 1978. What he taught me about the violin is what I teach my students, and when I saw him most recently at a masterclass, I thought how much more I could still learn from him. Beyond the violin and musical world, though, what I so appreciated, was his character: the integrity, gentleness, humor, devotion and constancy of his faith.

March 3, 2014

Dear Linda,
Leslie and I are so grateful to have had the opportunity to know Stephen as a musician, colleague and friend. We will miss him greatly and wish you every comfort and blessing in the weeks and months ahead. Matthew and Leslie Michelic

February 4, 2014

Dearest Linda, Our hearts are with you all at this sad time. I understand Stephen's service was beautiful. We were sad not to be able to be with you but look forward to seeing you soon. We too will miss your beloved Stephen. Our love to you all. Martha and Bill

Charles Rufino

February 3, 2014

The pleasure of meeting Stephen was first mine in 1986 when he was a professor at Oberlin and Nigo Nigogosian, Carlos Arcieri, and I came there to establish the first Oberlin Restoration Workshops. He was so thrilled and delighted that this project was underway, and there was nothing he would not do to help us. He even picked us up at the airport in Cleveland and drove us around as we got settled. That week we invited to a traditional Chinese feast prepared by a student who had lived with the Clapp family the preceding year, and was headed home. The warmth and genuine kindness shown to us in those long-ago days is with me still. Rest in peace, Stephen, and peace to Mary and the kids.

Elisabeth Adkins

January 30, 2014

I studied half time with Stephen Clapp at Aspen for a couple of summers, and I got more out of one lesson with him than ALL of the lessons with the very famous teacher that I was also assigned to! He was a born teacher, able to see someone with a knot of problems, and find the one strand that would fix everything. He was a real inspiration, and so kind, warm, and thoughtful in a profession that doesn't always value those qualities.

Jonathan Sturm

January 30, 2014

I remember Stephen as a compassionate, patient, and careful professor who gave me invaluable insight into how to play the violin professionally, and also how to teach it well. Each lesson I teach now, 35 years later is still based in many ways upon his ideas and procedures, and during each performance I give, some of the techniques for accuracy and relaxation that I bring to the concert derive from his models. Knowing how many students he reached over his years as a teacher, I can think of few recent violinist/teachers who have had such a long-reaching influence. And he made these contributions gently, with care, and with support. He never needed to tear me down in order to make me stronger. I will always be glad I encountered him in my life and gained from his perspectives and insights. I send my heartfelt condolences to Linda and his family, who were so close to him always. I hope there is comfort in knowing that his impact upon the world was significant for many years. For Linda, I am including this poem I composed upon my own father's passing in 2005. I hope it offers some comfort in its perspective.

Golden Gate Bridge

Here I go!
Take one last look—for memories,
one last breath—as a push forward,
a springboard.

What's done is done!
It's just a step now,
and a small one at that.

And then?
No, I'll leave “and then what?” to those behind.
I'm suddenly side-by-side with everything!
ready to know!
once again new, eager!

I'm off!
What a feeling!
I couldn't look back if I tried!

I'm off . . . and dancing!
(Jonathan Sturm, 2005)

Dan Welcher

January 30, 2014

I knew Stephen from Aspen and from Austin, where we were both faculty members. He was always the most friendly person---giving of smiles, of hugs, of his time and his knowledge. He was a wonderful violinist and teacher, and will be greatly missed.

Virginia Soper

January 30, 2014

Stephen Clapp was my violin teacher, a warm-hearted, supportive person with a ready smile. A truly fine human being and a pleasure to make music with at the Aspen Music Festival. He cared about his students and even remembered me 40 years down the road.

Lauren Basney

January 30, 2014

Dean Clapp was my teacher at Juilliard, and a kind, dedicated and patient presence in my life. I was a difficult student, but he was always gentle and understanding, and believed in me unfailingly. I absolutely would not be in music without him, and I am grateful to him every day. Please know how much he meant to so many of his students, like me.

January 29, 2014

Rest in Peace, kind soul. So young, too soon to leave us -- you will always be in our thoughts. Dori & Larry Berger