David Clifford Stone

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David Clifford Stone
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Born (1936-03-25) March 25, 1936 (age 87)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materClifton College
OccupationMusician and cultural strategist

David Clifford Stone is first and foremost a musician with an international career as violinist, conductor and educationalist. But, as advisor to governments, cities and organisations, he has been a catalyst for innovative developments, believing in the power of the arts for community cohesion and cross-cultural understanding.

Early years

David grew up during the Second World War in the then remote Gloucestershire village of Leighterton. His idyllic garden and the Cotswold countryside have always inspired his work.

Starting the piano at the age of 5 (his mother was a professional piano teacher, his grandfather a self-taught organist and choir master), only at the age of 11 did he chance to volunteer for violin classes at school. Throughout his playing career he recognised the technical limitations of so late a start; but he was determined to achieve as high a level as possible and to shape a meaningful life.

At Clifton College (1947–54), he was influenced by the legendary one-armed pianist and organist Douglas Fox. With a State Scholarship and Polack Exhibition, in Music and Classics, to King’s College, Cambridge, he read Music and Theology. His mentors were men of stature: Boris Ord, the famous Director of King’s College Choir; Philip Radcliffe, musicologist; Alec Vidler, theologian and Dean of King’s; and John Robinson, of Honest to God fame. At Cambridge he formed a string quartet and led CUMS orchestra.

In 1958 he was appointed violinist in the new String Trio resident at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, concertizing, broadcasting and lecturing. Here he was introduced to the Delius sonatas by the pianist Ernest Jenner MBE. David also served as Lay Reader in the Anglican Church.


As an ex-member of Dame Ruth Railton’s National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, David was one of the soloists for the orchestra’s 10th anniversary appearance at the 1956 Edinburgh Festival. Briefly a pupil of Max Rostal, he regards Leonard Hirsch, the orchestra and quartet leader chosen by Walter Legge to create the string section of the newly formed Philharmonia Orchestra, as his real mentor.

Settling in London (1962), at the invitation of David Martin he joined the Martin Quartet (at the time the longest established British quartet other than the Amadeus), and with his own Trio Pro Musica he played with such artists as Goossens, Reizenstein and Korchinska. He led an active freelance life with British chamber orchestras and the Sinfonia of London (for the Dmitri Tiomkin film scores). A member of and then principal second violin in Yehudi Menuhin’s Bath (and later Menuhin) Festival Orchestra, he took part in worldwide tours, recordings and performances at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

His insight into the music of Frederick Delius led him (1973–1975) to become the first artist to record all the Delius violin and piano works, Sonatas 2, 3 and Légende with Alan Schiller (1973), ‘something at last very like the Beecham touch’[1]; and (commissioned by the Delius Society) with Robert Threlfall the newly discovered 1892 Sonata in B and Sonata No. 1 (1975) ‘leaping exuberance’[2].

As soloist, David has toured in the Middle East, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Sarawak, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, the West Indies, the UK and the USA.

He has played violins by Stradivarius (1692 and the Goddard, 1686), Nicolò Gagliano, Joseph Filius Andreae Guarnerius and J.B. Rogerius.


David has worked with young musicians across the world. In 1975 he was appointed inaugural conductor of the then County of Avon Schools Orchestra, touring to the Bermuda Festival, Singapore, Hong Kong and Manila, and appearing in the BBC’s Youth Orchestras of the World series. As both administrator and coach he assisted Pro Corda, the National School for Young Chamber Music Players, taking the senior members to collaborate with the School of Music, the University of South Carolina, USA. Between 1962 and 1966 he was Visiting Lecturer in Violin at the Universities of Sheffield and Reading. But perhaps the most significant of his achievements in this field took place in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

David’s initial report for the Hong Kong Government, ‘Music in Hong Kong and Instrumental Music at School Level’, led to his appointment as Music Consultant and then Artistic Advisor to the Government (1977).

He spearheaded two major strategic developments, contributing to the metamorphosis of Hong Kong in the 1970s and 1980s. Under a new government department, he introduced a scheme for promoting Chinese and Western musical activity throughout the territory, opening many music centres in the communities – ‘Hong Kong revolution … one of the most remarkable phenomenons to occur recently: the birth and prodigious growth of a huge, government-organized system for teaching and performing music, Chinese and Western’[3] – and touring the Hong Kong Youth Symphony and Chinese Orchestras to Britain, France, Cyprus, Israel and Australia.

This led to the establishment of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. This is a tertiary, degree-awarding institution housed in a purpose-built complex (37M GBP in 1979 capital construction cost), embracing the four disciplines – music, dance, drama and technical arts – attracting students from China, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. This was the first time that the four disciplines were combined in one overarching institution. David called in an expert team of advisors from the heads of institutions in Austria, Australia, China, the UK and the USA, chairing the meetings that created the educational policy. He was responsible for the highly detailed user specifications (spaces, equipment and people flow) and for the educational staff requirements. In a series of reports to Government he assisted in formulating the capital and recurrent budgets and in the choice of architect and site.

Artistic Director of the first Asian Youth Music Camp, he conducted the final concert with Menuhin as soloist, setting the scene for the future establishment of the Asian Youth Symphony Orchestra.

During his Hong Kong tenure, David was instrumental in procuring Maxim Shostakovich’s first conducting engagement after his defection to the West (Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, 1981).

Executive advisor

David’s awareness of the power of the arts in government has led him to promote cultural activity internationally. In South Africa (1984–86), during apartheid, for the City Council he made the world-class Cape Town Symphony Orchestra the first arts organisation in South Africa to be constituted as independent of government, municipal or national; he also introduced multi-racial workshops for children. For the Fundación Teresa Carreño in Venezuela, he was advisor on their initiative for integrated arts education; for the Cyprus Government he created an extensive plan (initiated through the UNHCR with funding from the UN) advocating an international cultural complex to be built on the Green Line Cyprus, to encourage collaboration (the project was agreed but implementation was prevented by a change of president); in Athens he created the Cultural Masterplan for the Foundation of the Hellenic World (whose mission is to promulgate Hellenism and to develop a 60,000m2 site for performances and exhibitions). He was instrumental in the Jewish Music Heritage Trust's becoming the Jewish Music Institute, resident at SOAS, University of London, and was the Inaugural Chief Executive of the Oxford Philomusica (now the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra).

Event director

From 1987, pursuing his theme, he directed many events, some with royal patronage: ‘Thai: Portrait of a Kingdom, the Festival of Thailand’, celebrating the King of Thailand’s 60th birthday and the two longest established monarchies (Barbican Centre, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, 1987);[4] he brought together some 150 events for the ‘Festival of Switzerland in Britain’ for the Swiss Government, marking the 900th anniversary of the foundation of the Swiss Confederation (1991); he mounted the first ever visit abroad of a South African ballet company for Cape Town City Ballet (Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London, 1994); he toured the Chang Mu Korean Dance Company Post-Olympic Cultural Mission (1988); as inaugural administrator of the Cross-Channel Arts Association, he conducted a Menuhin 80th birthday concert with an Anglo-French student orchestra in Boulogne (1996).

In 1988 he managed the Holocaust Commemoration Concert at the Royal Opera House, London; in 1991 he was Executive Director for ‘The Dolmetsch Years’, a celebration of the first 100 years of the early music movement (St John’s Smith Square, London); and he directed the Kent Literature Festival (1991–95).

For Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Halifax, David advocated the regeneration of the Square Chapel by transforming it into a flexible venue for performances and exhibitions linked to the Piece Hall Market and forming an arts and tourism unit, a concept implemented some years later. He was a keynote speaker at the Pan-Pacific conference ‘The Economics of the Arts and Tourism: 2000’ (Eugene, Oregon, USA, 1995) and rapporteur for the UNESCO-Hong Kong Government Symposium ‘East–West Exchange in Music and the Performing Arts’ (Hong Kong, 1980) and for the Third Commonwealth Arts Administrators’ Conference (Hong Kong).


Ludwig Spohr, 38 Studies from the Violin School, ed. David Stone (Oxford University Press, 1976)

Joseph Gibbs, Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, Nos 3 and 5, performing edition, ed. David Stone and Colin Tilney (Schott, 1974)

Joseph Gibbs, Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, Nos 2 and 4, co-ed. David Stone (Oxford University Press, 1990)

Frederick Delius, Sonata in B, ed. David Stone and Robert Threlfall (Boosey and Hawkes, 1975)

The Dolmetsch Years: a Festival to Celebrate the Life and Work of the Pioneer Arnold Dolmetsch, on the 50th Anniversary of His Death, and the First Hundred Years of the Early Music Renaissance (The Dolmetsch Foundation & David Stone Associates, 1990)

Jesus: Ten Questions (Dom Tom Publishing, 2005)


Frederick Delius, Sonatas 2 and 3 for Violin & Piano and Légende on Amon Ra/ Saydisc SAR-2 (1973), reissued on Stereo CD-SAR 2

Frederick Delius, Sonata in B Major (1892) and Sonata No. 1 on Pearl/Pavilion Records SHE 522 (1975)

Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe, vol. 1: Mass on the World, unaccompanied violin interludes on Omega Recordings T.d.C 100

Personal life

David and his wife, Elizabeth, are bibliophiles, specialising in early printing. His son, Jonathan, is Christie’s Co-Chairman, Asian Art, and Deputy Chairman, Asia Pacific Christie’s. David is a member of the City of London’s Worshipful Company of Musicians.


  1. Hugh Ottaway, Hi-fi News & Record Review, August 1973 (where the recording was nominated ‘Record of the Month’).
  2. Edward Greenfield, The Guardian, 20 January 1976, p. 10.
  3. Classical Music, 30 June 1979
  4. See http://www.anglothaisociety.org/the-history-of-the-anglo-thai-society/

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